Bill Cosby admitted in 2005 that he secured quaaludes with the intent of giving them to young women he wanted to have sex with, and that he gave the sedative to at least one woman and "other people," according to documents obtained Monday by The Associated Press.
Cosby's lawyers insisted that two of the accusers knew they were taking quaaludes from the comedian, according to the unsealed documents.
Nevertheless, attorneys for some of the numerous women suing Cosby seized on the testimony as powerful corroboration of what they have been saying all along: that he drugged and raped women.
The AP had gone to court to compel the release of a deposition in a sexual abuse case filed by the accuser — the first of a cascade of lawsuits against him that have severely damaged his good-guy image.
Cosby's lawyers had objected to the release of the material, arguing it would embarrass him. Ultimately, a judge unsealed just a small portion of the deposition.
Cosby settled the accuser's lawsuit under confidential terms in 2006. His lawyers in the Philadelphia case did not immediately return telephone calls Monday. The accuser did not want to comment, her lawyer said.
"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," the accuser's lawyer, Dolores M. Troiani, argued in court papers.
Cosby, 77, has been accused by more than two dozen women of sexual misconduct in episodes dating back more than four decades. Cosby has never been charged with a crime, and the statute of limitations on most of the accusations has expired.
"If today's report is true, Mr. Cosby admitted under oath 10 years ago sedating women for sexual purposes," said Lisa Bloom, attorney for model Janice Dickinson, who claims she was drugged and raped. "Given that, how dare he publicly vilify Ms. Dickinson and accuse her of lying when she tells a very similar story?
Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who is also representing several women, said she hopes to use the admission in court cases against the comedian.
Cosby, giving sworn testimony in the lawsuit accusing him of sexually assaulting the accuser at his home in Pennsylvania in 2004, said he obtained seven quaalude prescriptions in the 1970s. the accuser's lawyer asked if he had kept the sedatives through the 1990s — after they were banned — but was frustrated by objections from Cosby's attorney.
"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?" Troiani asked.
"Yes," Cosby answered.
"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.
Cosby had fought the AP's efforts to unseal the testimony, with his lawyer arguing that 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 also said the material would "prejudice him in eyes of the jury pool in Massachusetts," where Cosby is fighting defamation lawsuits brought by women who say his representatives smeared them by accusing them of lying.
U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno had temporarily sealed some documents in the lawsuit but never ruled on a final seal before the case was settled.
Under federal court rules in Pennsylvania, documents must be unsealed after two years unless a party can show specific harm. Robreno ruled that Cosby's potential embarrassment was insufficient.
Robreno asked last month why Cosby was fighting the release of his sworn testimony, given that the accusations in the lawsuit were already public. "Why would he be embarrassed by his own version of the facts?" Robreno said.
Cosby resigned in December from the board of trustees at Temple, where he was the popular face of the Philadelphia school in advertisements, fundraising campaigns and commencement speeches.
Lawyer Gayle Sproul, representing the AP, in court last month called the married Cosby "an icon" who "held himself out as someone who would guide the public in ways of morality."
Troiani, summarizing her evidence, painted a starkly different picture.
Cosby "has evidenced a predilection for sexual contact with women who are unconscious or drugged. His victims are young, 'star struck' and totally trusting of his public persona," Troiani argued.
This story has been corrected to show that Cosby's lawyers, not his accusers, say two women knowingly took Quaaludes from him, and to show that the alleged assault against the accuser took place in 2004, not 2005.