Bill Cosby’s admission that he gave at least one woman sedatives to have sex with her heaped further embarrassment on the disgraced US comedian Tuesday, but may count for little in court.
The 77-year-old, beloved by millions for playing a family doctor in hit sitcom “The Cosby Show,” has gone from megastar to pariah over a torrent of allegations of sexual misconduct spanning four decades from dozens of women.
Lawyers say his admission — in a 2005 deposition unsealed Monday — could help bolster defamation and emotional distress suits from other women accusing the veteran actor of assault.
Lisa Bloom, a lawyer for model Janice Dickinson, said Cosby had admitted to the “very conduct” her client also accuses him of.
“Given that, how dare he publicly vilify Ms Dickinson and accuse her of lying?” she said in a statement.
“It is time for Mr Cosby to stop hiding behind his attorneys and PR agents and to publicly apologize to Ms Dickinson and the 46 other women who have publicly accused him of sexual assault,” she said.
But experts say there is little prospect of Cosby facing criminal liability because the statutes of limitations in most of the cases have expired — unless perhaps lawyers could prove he lied under oath in the deposition.
Some alleged victims went on television to say they felt vindicated — even that his admission was a game-changer — as Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jill Scott turned her back on Cosby.
Scott, who had publicly supported the comedy star, said Monday’s revelations left her “completely disgusted.”
“Sadly his own testimony offers PROOF of terrible deeds,” she wrote on Twitter. “I stood by a man I respected and loved. I was wrong. It HURTS!!!”
US District Court Judge Eduardo Robreno said he unsealed the deposition because of “the stark contrast between Bill Cosby, the public moralist, and Bill Cosby, the subject of serious allegations concerning improper (and perhaps criminal) conduct.”
The request, made by the Associated Press news agency, was a matter, he wrote, of “significant interest.”
– Game changer –
Cosby’s lawyers fought hard against the disclosure. In June, one of them, George Gowen, wrote that making the deposition public would be seriously embarrassing and could prejudice a separate case in Massachusetts.
Patti Masten, a former Playboy bunny who accused Cosby of brutally raping her in Chicago, told CNN that the revelation was “complete validation across the board” for all of his accusers.
Masten said in 1979 that she “woke up in bed, naked, bruised and battered” next to a naked Cosby after taking “two sips” of a drink he had fixed her.
Barbara Bowman, one of the first women to accuse Cosby, told CNN that the admission was “a game changer.”
“After 10 long years, it really was quite amazing,” she said. “It was like everything turned 180 in the matter of a minute.”
In the deposition, Cosby admitted that in 1976 he supplied Quaaludes — a strong depressant which has since been banned in the United States — to a woman who later accused him of sexual assault.
It came after Andrea Constand filed a civil complaint accusing Cosby of battery, sexual assault, inflicting emotional distress, defamation and invasion of privacy. The civil case was later settled.
Under questioning from lawyer Dolores Troiani, Cosby admitted having obtained seven prescriptions for Quaaludes and giving them to other people.
But he avoided questions about who he gave drugs to and when, and whether he gave young women drugs without their knowledge.
Troiani then asked him: “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?”
“Yes,” replied Cosby, although later he said he had misunderstood the question. “Woman, meaning T….., and not women,” he said.
Later in the deposition, Cosby said: “I meet Ms (T, whose name was redacted to preserve her anonymity) in Las Vegas. She meets me back stage. I give her Quaaludes,” he said. “We then have sex.”