POLITICS

From taking 'personal time' to facing sex assault charges -- a month of Ghomeshi news

11/26/2014 01:54 EST | Updated 01/26/2015 05:59 EST
TORONTO - There has been a month of news about former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi leading up to the charges against him Wednesday of four counts of sexual assault and one count of what is called "overcome resistance — choking." His lawyer says he will plead not guilty. Here are some of the key developments in the weeks leading up to the charges:

Oct. 24: CBC says Ghomeshi is taking an undetermined amount of time away from the network "to deal with some personal issues." And Ghomeshi tweets: "Thanks for all the well wishes, you guys. I'm OK.'' He says he is taking some "much needed personal time" away from the CBC.

Oct. 26: CBC announces it has cut ties with Ghomeshi, the host of the radio program "Q'', after receiving "information'' about him.

Oct. 26: Ghomeshi issues a lengthy Facebook post saying he has engaged in rough sex, but says it was always consensual. He says he was fired from CBC because of the risk that his sex life would become public ``as a result of a campaign of false allegations.''

Oct. 27: The Toronto Star publishes a report detailing allegations from three women who say Ghomeshi was physically violent to them without their consent during sexual encounters or in the run-up to such encounters. Ghomeshi _ through his lawyer _ responded that he ``does not engage in non-consensual role play or sex and any suggestion of the contrary is defamatory.'' The Star reported none of the women filed police complaints. The newspaper also reported that a fourth woman who worked at the CBC alleged that Ghomeshi ``approached her from behind and cupped her rear end in the Q studio'' and made a sexually obscene comment to her during a story meeting. The Star reported Ghomeshi told the newspaper that he did not understand why it was continuing to pursue allegations when ``my lawyers have already told you it is untrue.''

Oct. 27: Ghomeshi's lawyers file a lawsuit suing the CBC for $55 million plus special damages and alleging breach of confidence, bad faith and defamation. The CBC did not immediately file a formal statement of defence, but a spokesman said the public broadcaster plans to ``contest this matter vigorously.''

Oct. 28: The CBC issues an internal memo saying it is conducting a "continuing investigation'' into a claim of misconduct against one of its employees. The memo never named Ghomeshi directly, but said it became aware of the claim through a story published in the Toronto Star.

Oct. 29: CBC current affairs radio show "As it Happens'' airs an interview with a woman who alleges Ghomeshi punched her repeatedly in the head without warning. The woman said she did not go to police and felt emboldened to come forward after reading the allegations in the Toronto Star. The woman was not named.

Oct. 29: The Toronto Star publishes another article, saying eight women now allege abusive behaviour by Ghomeshi. "Trailer Park Boys'' actress Lucy DeCoutere agrees to be identified in connection with her allegations against Ghomeshi. DeCoutere accused Ghomeshi of choking her "to the point she could not breathe'' and slapping her "hard three times on the side of her head.'' The Star said Ghomeshi, his lawyers and public relations staff had not responded to allegations in their latest report.

Oct. 30: Ghomeshi issues a Facebook post saying that he intends to "meet these allegations directly,'' but adding he will not communicate with the media.

Oct. 30: The CBC says it is hiring a third-party company to conduct an investigation in the wake of allegations against Ghomeshi. It also says CBC is making counsellors available to employees.

Oct. 30: Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says there is no investigation underway against Ghomeshi, adding someone must lodge a formal complaint in order for a probe to be launched. None of Ghomeshi's accusers had reported going to police with their allegations.

Oct. 30: Two public relations firms, Navigator and Rock-it Promotions, issue statements saying they no longer represent Ghomeshi

Oct, 30: Another woman, identifying herself as Reva Seth, writes an article for the Huffington Post involving her own allegations of an aggressive, non-consensual encounter with Ghomeshi.

Oct. 31: CBC issues a memo to staff saying it saw "graphic evidence'' that Ghomeshi had caused physical injury to a woman. This evidence, it said, was seen on Oct. 23 and was the reason behind the decision to fire the "Q" host. In the memo, Executive Vice-President Heather Conway said Ghomeshi also had a letter from two journalists that made allegations about his private life. The Star never contacted the corporation directly about them, she said. ``When directly confronted, Jian firmly denied there was any truth to those allegations,'' Conway said. CBC president Hubert Lacroix issues a public statement saying he's shocked, saddened and angry at the torrent of allegations against Ghomeshi.

Oct. 31: The Toronto Star publishes a story saying Ghomeshi showed CBC executives videos of some of his sexual encounters.

Oct. 31: Various organizations and individuals all announce they are parting company with Ghomeshi. Penguin Canada says it will no longer publish his next book, talent management company ``The Agency Group'' stated it would no longer represent him, and pop singer Lights issued a Facebook statement saying she was dropping Ghomeshi as her manager after 12 years of working together.

Oct. 31: Toronto police say they are investigating Ghomeshi after two women have come forward with complaints.

Nov. 1: Toronto police say three women have now filed abuse complaints against Ghomeshi and investigators are looking into reports of a ``graphic'' video in the network's possession.

Nov. 4: CBC announces a Toronto employment lawyer with expertise in workplace harassment will lead an independent investigation into the scandal that erupted around Ghomeshi. In an email to staff, executive vice-president Heather Conway said Janice Rubin would begin her work immediately. Conway urged anyone who worked on ``Q'' or an earlier Ghomeshi show _ ``Play'' _ to contact Rubin with any complaints.

Nov. 25: CBC says Ghomeshi has reached an agreement with the network to withdraw his $55-million lawsuit against the public broadcaster. The lawsuit was launched after termination of his employment, alleging defamation and breach of confidence. CBC argued that Ghomeshi's allegations were frivolous or vexatious. "The suit is being withdrawn with costs in favour of CBC,'' said CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson, who said Ghomeshi is expected to pay $18,000 in legal costs to the CBC.

Nov. 26: Ghomeshi is charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count what is called "overcome resistance _ choking." He is granted bail. His lawyer, Marie Henein, says he will plead not guilty. "We will address these allegations fully and directly in a courtroom," she says, a sombre-looking Ghomeshi standing by her side