For years, Bill Cosby’s attorneys have tried to keep depositions sealed from an earlier legal action regarding his sexual activities, and now we know why. The Associated Press got their hands on a 2005 deposition in which the one-time king of prime-time TV admitted giving the depressant Quaaludes to at least one woman and then having sex. But was it consensual? Cosby’s attorneys objected at the time when opposing counsel tried to get Cosby on the record on that very point:
Embattled TV superstar Bill Cosby admitted to giving a woman Quaaludes and said that he obtained the drugs with the idea that he would give them to women he wanted to have sex with, according to court filings released Monday.
In the 2005 filing, part of a civil case, Cosby, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women, said that he obtained seven prescriptions for the drugs and answered “yes” when asked if he got them with the intent on giving them to women with whom he wanted to have sex.
The documents cite a deposition that Cosby gave in the case on Sept. 27 and 28, 2005 and quotes from it.
In the filings, which the Associated Press pushed to release, Cosby admits to giving the drug to one woman who he met in Las Vegas. It was not clear when the alleged meeting took place and the woman is not the same person who filed the suit.
“She meets me back stage,” he allegedly said. “I give her Quaaludes. We then have sex.”
This was the exchange regarding the matter of consent:
Q. 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?
Q. Did you ever give any of those young women the quaaludes without their knowledge?
Cosby’s lawyer objects, again asking Constand’s lawyer to limit the question to only the Jane Does. After their wrangling, Cosby continues.
—I misunderstood. Woman, meaning (another accuser), and not women.
Q. OK. So, you’re saying you never gave the quaaludes to anyone other than (a specific person)?
Cosby’s lawyer: Don’t answer the question. You can ask all the questions you want about the Jane Does.
The deposition included admissions of two uses of Quaaludes, one going back to 1978. That’s the incident in question when Cosby replies, “I give her Quaaludes. We then have sex.” That woman, according to the separate AP report, accused Cosby recently of assaulting her in 1976. In the deposition, Cosby describes her as “sweet” and “well-mannered,” and hints that she seemed to be impressed with the company she was keeping that evening.
After the release of the material, Cosby’s attorneys insisted that the use of Quaaludes in both cases was informed and consensual. It’s interesting, though, that they prevented Cosby from speaking to that issue in the 2005 deposition when opposing counsel specifically asked about it. The plaintiff’s attorneys ended up settling the case in 2006 with Cosby’s legal team, but not before arguing that their evidence showed that this was a pattern with the entertainer:
“This evidence shows a pattern in which defendant ‘mentored’ naive young women and introduced drugs into the relationship, with and without the woman’s knowledge, in order for him to achieve sexual satisfaction,” Constand’s lawyer, Dolores M. Troiani, argued in court papers.
Cosby’s attorneys fought hard against this release, but the judge in the case ruled that this was a matter of public interest. Judge Eduardo Robreno also argued that Cosby’s political activism on family values, education, and crime “voluntarily narrowed the zone of privacy” he could claim on this issue. That may raise some questions in the longer run — it’s difficult to argue that Cosby’s political commentary makes him a bigger public figure than his career in entertainment — but that won’t do anything to salvage his reputation now. Even if these two incidents with Quaaludes were consensual, deliberately dosing women with sedatives for sex is creepy, and this makes it sound as though Cosby bought the drugs with this one purpose in mind. It doesn’t prove that he used the drugs non-consensually, but it certainly raises lots of suspicions, especially with the number of women who now claim to have been unwittingly dosed and then sexually assaulted.