Bill Cosby's admission that he obtained quaaludes to give young women he was pursuing for sex could bolster defamation claims lodged by his accusers, the women's lawyers said after The Associated Press reported on newly released court documents.
Cosby in sworn testimony unsealed Monday admitted that he gave the now-banned sedative to at least one of his accusers and to unnamed others. His lawyer interfered before he could answer deposition questions in 2005 about how many women were given drugs and whether they knew about it.
"If today's report is true, Mr. Cosby admitted under oath 10 years ago sedating women for sexual purposes," Lisa Bloom, attorney for model Janice Dickinson, who contends she was drugged and raped said Monday. "Given that, how dare he publicly vilify Ms. Dickinson and accuse her of lying when she tells a very similar story?"
The AP had gone to court to compel the release of the documents from the deposition in a sexual abuse lawsuit filed by the Cosby accuser — the first of a cascade of sexual abuse lawsuits against him. Cosby's lawyers had objected on the grounds that it would embarrass their client. NBC reached out to the accuser's lawyers who declined to comment because of an agreement.
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Cosby settled that lawsuit under confidential terms in 2006. His lawyers in the Philadelphia case did not immediately return phone calls Monday to NBC News. The accuser did not want to comment, her lawyer said Monday.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents another accuser and other women in cases against Cosby, said she had filed a brief in California Supreme Court against Cosby's effort to block the case against him. Cosby had attempted to block the case in court, Allred said in a statement released Monday.
Cosby, 77, has been accused by more than two dozen women of sexual misconduct, including allegations by many that he drugged and raped them in incidents dating back more than four decades. Cosby has never been criminally charged, and most of the accusations are barred by statutes of limitations.
Cosby, giving sworn testimony in the lawsuit accusing him of sexual assaulting the original accuser at his home in Pennsylvania in 2005, said he got seven quaalude prescriptions in the 1970s. The lawyer for the accuser asked if he had kept the sedatives through the 1990s — after they were banned — but was frustrated by objections from Cosby's lawyer.
"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?" lawyer Dolores M. Troiani asked.
"Yes," Cosby answered on Sept. 29, 2005.
"Did you ever give any of these young women the quaaludes without their knowledge?"
Cosby's lawyer again objected, leading Troiani to petition the federal judge to force Cosby to cooperate.
Cosby later said he gave the young woman three half-pills of Benadryl, although Troiani in the documents voices doubt that was the drug involved. The two other women who testified on the accuser's behalf said they had knowingly been given quaaludes.
Three of the women accusing Cosby of sexually assaulting them have a defamation lawsuit pending against him in Massachusetts. They allege that he defamed them when his agents said their accusations were untrue. Cosby is trying to get their case thrown out before discovery.
Cosby had fought the AP's efforts to unseal the testimony, with his lawyer arguing the deposition could reveal details of Cosby's marriage, sex life and prescription drug use.
"It would be terribly embarrassing for this material to come out," lawyer George M. Gowen III argued in June. He said the public should not have access to what Cosby was forced to say as he answered questions under oath from the accuser's lawyer nearly a decade ago.
"Frankly ... it would embarrass him, (and) it would also prejudice him in eyes of the jury pool in Massachusetts," Gowen said.
U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno asked last month why Cosby was fighting the release of his sworn testimony, given that the accusations in the original lawsuit were already in the public eye.
"Why would he be embarrassed by his own version of the facts?" Robreno said.
Cosby resigned in December from the board of trustees at his alma mater, Temple, where he was the popular face of the Philadelphia school in advertisements, fundraising campaigns and commencement speeches.