With Bill Cosby in prison, much of the legal battle surrounding him will be moved to a civil court, where 10 women have sued him and say he assaulted them sexually, and that his fate, not his freedom, will be at stake.
The civil lawsuits have been largely suspended while the criminal trial was taking place. Mr. Cosby filed his first appeal on Friday, but the plaintiffs' attorneys say they intend to pursue their claims aggressively now that Mr. Cosby has been convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand.
Ms. Constand is the only woman whose account resulted in criminal charges, in part because many of the women who have accused Mr. Cosby of assaulting them were not made public until after the statute of limitations for that crime expired. But many of them were not barred from filing civil lawsuits, four of which remain active in courtrooms across the country.
He[[Read about Bill Cosby's Sentence Y life in prison.]
Lisa Bloom, who represents Janice Dickinson, the former model who sued Mr. Cosby, said his lawsuit is motivated by responsibility and fairness, not money.
"Janice and I have said in the file whether he would admit what he did to him and apologize for leaving the case," Bloom said.
In the case of Ms. Dickinson and in a second case involving seven other women, the plaintiffs accused Mr. Cosby of defacing them, claiming that his team described them as liars when they presented their accounts. In two other cases, women have accused Mr. Cosby of sexual assault.
All the cases were filed before Mr. Cosby was charged with criminal charges, and at that time, the women say, the only way they felt they could get a hearing on their accounts. Now they hope to present Mr. Cosby's conviction as important new evidence in his costumes.
"He is now a registered sex offender and that helps us a lot in our case," said Ms. Bloom, whose client, Ms. Dickinson, says Mr. Cosby raped her in a hotel room in Lake Tahoe in 1982.
David Aronoff, a lawyer with Fox Rothschild LLP, who is not involved in the Cosby case, said evidence of previous wrongdoing is often considered inadmissible. "But there are several important exceptions to this rule," he explained, "that open the door to evidence of Cosby's criminal conviction in civil cases against him."
He said that these exceptions include cases in which previous bad acts increase the level of habit or custom.
Mr. Cosby has denied the allegations of the women, described any sexual relationship as consensual and is appealing his criminal conviction. Their attorneys may try to continue to defer proceedings in civil cases while the appeal is being developed and would probably cite their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to block additional deposition in those cases.
"We believe that these cases have absolutely no merit," said Alan Greenberg, the chief defense attorney in Mr. Cosby's civil cases. "We will continue vigorously defending Mr. Cosby."
For years, Mr. Cosby, 81, was a profit machine with income from comedy albums, commercial appearances for Jell-O and other brands, as well as books and movies and salary and royalties from television shows such as " The Cosby Show ". that worked from 1984 to 1992. But the income streams have been reduced in recent years, experts say, partly because the waste from Cosby's shows dried up after they were removed from the air largely in response to the scandal. .
What remains of his fortune is not clear. He and his wife, Camille, together or separately, continue to own property in California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York with values estimated at almost $ 72 million, although several of them have significant mortgages. The real estate portfolio used to be higher, but in September 2015, when the charges against Mr. Cosby began to be built, a real estate company that mentions Ms. Cosby as principal sold three properties in Santa Monica, California, for $ 22.4 million.
Mr. Cosby's legal bills have clearly been increasing for several years, although until now the civil defamation cases have been paid by his insurance company, American International Group. .
A.I.G. He has twice tried to limit his exposure, arguing in court that he is not obliged to cover claims arising from sexual misconduct. But the judges of Massachusetts and California have allied with Mr. Cosby. In Massachusetts, federal judge Mark G. Mastroianni ruled that the case had a defamation case in his heart, which was covered by the policy. A.I.G. He refused to comment.
The legal bills for the criminal case, which included two trials over a period of three years, several groups of lawyers and now an appeal, are another story, as are the invoices of civil cases of sexual assault. Mr. Cosby is handling those problems and shows some signs of possible financial stress. Last month, a Philadelphia law firm, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, who represented Mr. Cosby in the criminal case, sued him, saying he owes them more than $ 280,000. Andrew Wyatt, a spokesman for Mr. Cosby declined to comment on this lawsuit.
Mr. Cosby's appeal on Friday questions his conviction and his prison sentence of three to ten years.
His lawyers argued that Judge Steven T. O'Neill made a mistake during the sentence by taking into account the testimony of five other women who said they had been attacked by Mr. Cosby years ago; that Judge O'Neill should have recognized that Mr. Cosby, who is legally blind, has an "almost zero" risk of recidivism; that the evidence of the trial had not shown precisely when the meeting with Mrs. Constand took place, and if it occurred within the statute of limitations of 12 years; and that a recorded telephone conversation between Mr. Cosby and Mrs. Constand's mother, Gianna Constand, was not "authentic" even though it was used by prosecutors in the trial.
Prosecutors have not yet responded in court, but in the past they have contested the claims presented in the appeal.
He was in Pennsylvania court last month when Judge O'Neill announced the sentence. She said she reacted instinctively, remembering the times she thought Mr. Cosby had laughed inappropriately during the process.
"I let out an explosive emotional laugh," he told Variety in a statement. "While other victims cried, I laughed and said:" Who is laughing now? "
Mr. Cosby's team requested that the Supreme Court of the United States review Ms. Dickinson's case in an attempt to have the claim dismissed. But last week, the court refused to do so.
Ms. Dickinson's case closely resembles a second case prosecuted in federal court in Massachusetts by seven women represented by Joseph Cammarata. The women say they were also called liars after accusing Mr. Cosby of sexual assault. Like Mrs. Dickinson, the women (Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis, and Angela Leslie) claim that Mr. Cosby slandered them in the process of responding to their behavior allegations. sexual abuse.
Mr. Cosby's attorneys have fought against defamation cases arguing that their representatives spoke only in their defense and that they were not declaring facts, but offered opinions that are protected by the Constitution.
The other two lawsuits against Mr. Cosby were filed by women who say that Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted them.
Judy Huth, who says that Mr. Cosby forced her to perform a sexual act with him in 1974 at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, when she was 15 years old, is suing in California.
His attorney, Gloria Allred, deposed Mr. Cosby in 2015 as part of the procedure and is waiting for a second return, although Mr. Cosby is likely to enforce his Fifth Amendment rights until his appeal is resolved. .
The Playboy Mansion is also included in the fourth lawsuit that Mr. Cosby faces from Chloe Goins, who says he drugged her and sexually assaulted her at a party there in 2008. The Los Angeles authorities investigated her complaint, although they decided not to press charges in 2016. Ms. Goins' lawyer, Spencer Kuvin, said that the civil case will continue and that he is trying to depose Mr. Cosby.
The day of Mr. Cosby's sentencing last month in Norristown, Pa., Mr. Cammarata, Ms. Allred and several of the women who are suing joined other accusers at a press conference at the Salvador Room , an event space a few blocks from the Montgomery County Courthouse.
"They stole my trust, stole my body and my belief that good things happen," said Mrs. Serignese, one of seven women who are suing Mr. Cosby for defamation in Massachusetts. "You, Mr. Cosby, made me a victim, your victim."
The next meeting of lawyers in that case will be later this month.
Jon Hurdle and Bryon MacWilliams contributed the story.