- The Washington Times - Monday, July 6, 2015

Comedian Bill Cosby has admitted under oath to drugging multiple women in order to coerce them into sex, according to a 2005 deposition made public Monday.

The deposition, which had been part of a sex-abuse lawsuit by Andrea Costand that was settled for an undisclosed amount of money and put under seal the next year, was made public Monday as a result of a lawsuit by The Associated Press.

More than two dozen women over the past few years have made similar claims that Mr. Cosby coerced them into sexual intercourse, often by drugging them.

Besides Ms. Costand, one other woman, whom the AP did not identify, testified in the case that she had taken quaaludes from Mr. Cosby.

For his part, Mr. Cosby admitted in his 2005 deposition to acquiring quaaludes with the intent of giving them to women he wanted to go to bed with — both the woman who was suing him and unspecified “other people.”

He admitted actually giving Ms. Costand, a former Temple University employee, three half-pills of Benadryl, a popular antihistamine that induces drowsiness, The Associated Press reported.

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However, he acknowledged getting seven quaalude prescriptions in the 1970s, when they were legally available, and prosecutors implied he had hoarded them for that purpose for decades.

“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?” Costand attorney Dolores M. Troiani asked.

“Yes,” Mr. Cosby answered, though his lawyers objected to a follow-up about whether he had administered the quaaludes without the women’s consent.

The Benadryl admission came later in questioning, though Ms. Troiani expressed doubts in the court papers that this was fully honest.

Mr. Cosby’s attorneys acknowledged in the court papers that he had given quaaludes to two women, though they said the women took them voluntarily and knew what they were.

The comedian’s lawyers had objected to the deposition being unsealed, saying the testimony would embarrass the man who once was America’s most beloved comic but has now become somewhat of a pariah.

U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno had temporarily sealed the Cosby deposition when overseeing the lawsuit but has never ruled on whether it would remain sealed at the time the case was settled.

However, the papers had to be unsealed within two years unless someone showed that releasing the testimony would harm him.

Mr. Cosby has spent the past several years fighting the AP to keep his testimony sealed, an effort that Judge Robreno finally rejected, saying a man can’t be sufficiently damaged by his own testimony, particularly since Ms. Constand’s accusations already were public.

“Why would he be embarrassed by his own version of the facts?” the judge wrote.

In ordering a portion of the deposition released, the judge also noted that Mr. Cosby’s public persona — more specifically, the gap between that persona and his acknowledged behavior — was a factor in his decision to unseal some of the deposition.

“The stark contrast between Bill Cosby, the public moralist and Bill Cosby, the subject of serious allegations concerning improper (and perhaps criminal) conduct is a matter as to which the AP – and by extension the public – has a significant interest,” Judge Robreno wrote.

Lawyers for other women who have accused Mr. Cosby of sexual assault immediately pounced on the admission Monday night as vindicating their clients and proving Mr. Cosby is a serial rapist trying to duck accountability.

Lisa Bloom, the attorney for model Janice Dickinson, said “now we know why” Bill Cosby has not given a deposition in her client’s defamation lawsuit.

“How dare he publicly vilify Ms. Dickinson and accuse her of lying when she tells a very similar story?” said Ms. Bloom, whose client last year said Mr. Cosby raped her in 1982 and is now suing the comedian, saying his denials are defamatory.

Gloria Allred said in a Monday evening statement that she plans to use the deposition in other court cases.

“This confirms the allegations of numerous victims who have alleged that he had used drugs to sexually assault them,” she said. “This admission is one that Mr. Cosby has attempted to hide from the public for many years, and we are very gratified that it is now being made public.”

Mr. Cosby never has been criminally charged, often because of statute-of-limitations issues and sometimes because of the high “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” standard for rape and other criminal offenses.

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