Bill Cosby’s lawyer lashed out at the media and one of his accusers in a new court motion — arguing that his client’s 2005 deposition related to a woman claiming to have been drugged and sexually assaulted should never have been released and, once it was, its contents were “cavalierly misinterpreted.”
The document, filed in court Tuesday by attorney Patrick O’Connor, claims that Cosby’s deposition conducted by a lawyer for Andrea Constand should never have been made public. In it, Cosby admits he had sexual relationships with at least five women outside his marriage, gave prescription sedatives to women he wanted to have sex with and tried to hide affairs from his wife.
Constand, then a women’s basketball team staffer at Temple University, Cosby’s alma mater, alleged in a civil lawsuit she was drugged and sexually assaulted at the comedian’s Pennsylvania home in 2004. She talked to authorities the following January, and she reached a confidential settlement with Cosby in 2006.
Her story has gotten a new life in recent months after more than 20 other women have come forward alleging Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them.
The comedian, now 78, and his representatives have steadfastly denied these allegations, and he has never been charged with a crime along these lines.
His lawyer claimed, in the new motion, that Constand and her lawyers are trying “ride to on the coattails of the barrage of inaccurate and negative media attention” after a judge’s July 6 ruling that allowed the release of portions of Cosby’s deposition related to Constand’s lawsuit.
Bill Cosby admitted getting Quaaludes to give to women
Constand’s lawyer Dolores Troiani had asked a judge to unseal that entire deposition, the deposition of her client, and details of the confidentiality agreement between the two sides. Her motion was filed before CNN obtained the deposition from the court reporting agency that recorded it.
Cosby’s lawyer claims that Constand and her lawyers’ part in disseminating such court documents are “a barely-veiled attempt to continue (their) campaign against him in the public eye, despite having settled her actual claim against him and having agreed to say no more.”
The release of the documents revealed Cosby stating that he gave prescription Quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with. Cosby’s camp claims news outlets took his words out of context, asserting that he never admitted to doing anything without a woman’s OK or apart from norms of the time.
“The media immediately pounced, inaccurately labeling the released testimony as (Cosby’s) ‘confession’ of ‘drugging’ women and assaulting them,” the lawyer said in the new document. It is “obvious that the media, armed with only one side of the story, cavalierly misinterpreted defendant’s testimony,” the document states.
Cosby camp: Quaaludes common party drug in 1970s
The Cosby motion insisted that the comedian never admitted he drugged or had sex with any woman without her consent.
Yes, he did admit to having an extramarital affair with a woman in the 1970s “and that, as part of that affair, she took Quaaludes offered by” him, Cosby’s lawyer said.
“Those excerpts did not, however, contain any testimony that (Cosby) engaged in any non-consensual sex or give (that woman or anyone else) Quaaludes without her knowledge or consent,” he added.
Doing so wasn’t unusual, the lawyer says. “There are countless tales of celebrities, music stars and wealthy socialites” — all of whom Cosby mingled with freely during the 1970s, as one of the most popular comedians of the time — “willingly using Quaaludes for recreational purposes and during consensual sex.” The pills, also known as “disco biscuits,” were reportedly thought to increase sexual arousal.
As such, Cosby was “one of the many people who introduced Quaaludes into their consensual sex life in the 1970s,” his lawyer said.
That said, Cosby’s accusers don’t all date to the 1970s. Others have come forward with similar stories claiming that they’d been with Cosby, felt drugged and woke up suspecting they had been raped in the 1980s, 1990s and, in Constand’s case, the 2000s.
Deposition’s release challenged
How did a sworn deposition related to a civil lawsuit that was settled confidentially become public?
Excerpts became public earlier this month after The Associated Press went to court to compel their release of motions that contained parts of the deposition. The New York Times obtained a copy of the entire deposition from a court reporting agency, and first reported its contents Saturday. CNN also obtained a copy after requesting it from the same agency.
Kaplan, Leaman and Wolfe, the court reporting agency that released the nearly 1,000-page deposition, explained in a letter that it released the deposition believing that, when a judge OK’d the release of the excerpts, it opened the door for “access to (other) documents filed under seal.”
Yet O’Connor said Constand’s legal team didn’t live up to its “contractual obligation,” as part of the confidentiality agreement, by not stopping the deposition’s release. Having that document now public constitutes a “massive breach in protocol,” Cosby’s lawyer says.
“Tellingly, (Constand) does not seek to void the entire settlement agreement,” he added, accusing her of violating the confidentiality deal and contacting other alleged Cosby victims. “Obviously, she wants to keep what she was paid.”
Constand’s lawyer, in a letter filed with the court, said it was the court reporting agency’s duty to run the deposition’s release by both parties first.
“In that (a court reporting agency executive) relied upon the portion from the court reporter’s code of ethics to release the deposition as a public record, we relied upon the portion which prohibits its release without the reporter first contacting the parties,” Troani wrote.
As to the media’s role in all this, CNN legal analyst Paul Callan said that “the First Amendment protects the right of the press to publish any document that has been released.”
“The litigants to the lawsuit (in this case, Constand) could be held in contempt of court for releasing the documents in violation of the courts confidentiality order,” said Callan, a former media law professor at Seton Hall University. “However once the documents have been placed in the public domain, the press has every right to publish (them) given the level of public interest in any matter of public controversy.”