The Bill Cosby trial: How we got here

(CNN)Much has been said and written about the sex scandal that has torpedoed Bill Cosby's legacy -- so much so that it can be difficult to recall how he reached the point of facing trial on three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault.

Here's a look at the allegations forming the basis of the charges and how they snowballed more than a decade later into lawsuits, cover stories, and a national conversation on sexual assault.
Lawyers for Cosby, 78, have said throughout that their client is innocent of all accusations.

    Unwanted sexual advances turn into assault allegations

    Andrea Constand was the first person to publicly accuse Cosby of sexual assault in 2005. A probable cause affidavit lays out her version of events, which she says occurred between mid-January and mid-February of 2004, and provides insight into the prosecution's case.
    Constand knew Cosby through her job at Temple University in Philadelphia and he invited her to his Cheltenham home. She said that over two visits he touched her "without warning" and tried to unbutton her pants before she stopped him. The incidents made her uncomfortable but she continued to trust him because of who he was, the affidavit says.
    In another visit he gave her a mix of pills and wine that left her feeling "frozen" and "paralyzed" as he fondled her body and placed his hand on his genitals, the affidavit says. She woke up the next morning in his home with her sweater bunched up and her bra undone, the affidavit says. She said she found Cosby at the bottom of the stairs; he gave her a muffin before opening the door and letting her out.
    Constand returned to her parents' home in Canada three months later. Her parents noticed a change in her personality, that she had trouble sleeping. It took Constand almost a year to confide in her parents what happened and they reported the incident to police in January 2005.
    Cosby told investigators in Pennsylvania that he gave Constand Benadryl and that the encounter was consensual. He described their previous encounters as "social and romantic."
    In a February 17, 2005, news release, former District Attorney Bruce Castor Jr. said no criminal charges were forthcoming but he would "reconsider" the decision "should the need arise," according to the affidavit.
    The next month Constand filed a lawsuit claiming battery, sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other claims. The case was settled in March 2006 after months of depositions that would come back to haunt Cosby.

    Accusers surface, fallout begins

    Former teen actor Barbara Bowman told her story to many media outlets in the years after Constand went public. So did California lawyer Tamara Green and other Jane Does named in Constand's lawsuit.
    But only after a man, comedian Hannibal Buress, called Cosby a rapist in a stand-up act in October 2014 did "public outcry begin in earnest," Bowman said in a Washington Post op-ed, repeating allegations that in a Cosby drugged and raped her.
    Indeed, Buress is widely credited with recasting the spotlight on the rape allegations for a new audience: the social media generation. The fallout was swift and devastating, with accusers totaling at least 50 coming forward.
    As those accusers, including model Janice Dickinson and journalist Joan Tarshis, shared similar allegations, a series of public relations blunders cast a long shadow over the beleaguered comic.
    During an Associated Press interview he dismissed a question about the allegations and pressured the reporter not to let the public see or hear his answer to the question. She defied his request.
    Then, a Cosby team "Meme Me!" campaign went awry.
    NBC and Netflix ditched projects involving him while TV Land quietly removed reruns of "The Cosby Show" from its programming schedule.
    Cosby's alma mater, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, cut ties with him, the first organization in what would a long list to do so.
    Even the former DA in the Constand case piled on, saying he thought Cosby lied to authorities.
    All the while, Cosby maintained his innocence through his lawyers, who called the accusers liars and opportunists.
    "The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true," said John P. Schmitt, calling the allegations "decade-old" and "discredited."
    "Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment."
    The statement came the day after NPR broadcast an awkward interview with Cosby -- awkward because Cosby did not utter one word when repeatedly asked about the charges against him.
    NPR host Scott Simon filled the airtime by saying Cosby was just "shaking his head no."

    Lawsuits begin

    The attempts to discredit accusers eventually led to lawsuits and countersuits from Cosby.
    Tamara Green, the first women to publicly accuse Cosby after Constand, filed a defamation suit alleging Cosby and his representatives defamed them while defending Cosby. Six more women eventually joined, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis and Angela Leslie; with the help of attorney Gloria Allred they compelled Cosby's wife, Camille Cosby, to sit for a deposition.
    Bill Cosby countersued them in December 2015, saying they defamed him.
    Cosby is facing another defamation lawsuit from Dickinson, along with a sexual harassment claim from Judy Huth, who alleges Cosby sexually assaulted her in 1974, when she was 15 years old.

    Judge unseals deposition

    It was the statement Cosby made in a deposition to Constand's lawyers in his lawsuit in 2005 that led Pennsylvania prosecutors to charge Cosby in the Constand case: Cosby admitted under oath that he procured sedatives for the purpose of giving them to young women with whom he wanted to have sex.
    The records were made public in July 2015 after The Associated Press went to court to compel their release.
    According to the documents, lawyer Dolores Troiani asked Cosby: "When you got the Quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?"
    Cosby answered yes.
    The revelations led newly elected Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele to seek charges. He had earlier made the Cosby case an election issue.
    Cosby was arraigned in December. After a preliminary hearing a judge decided on Tuesday that there was enough evidence for Cosby to stand trial.

    What's next for Cosby?

    Cosby faces three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault. In Pennsylvania law, that means he is accused of penetrating someone with part of his body without that person's consent.
    That can include taking away that person's ability to refuse the penetration by holding them down or drugging them or carrying out the sex act when the person is unconscious.
    He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years on each count.
    He also still faces the civil lawsuits.