Cosby Admits Giving Woman Quaaludes, Court Documents Show

Jul 7, 2015
Originally published on July 8, 2015 2:34 pm
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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There are new revelations in the saga of comedian Bill Cosby and the accusations swirling around him by women charging him with sexual abuse. Court documents unsealed yesterday revealed Cosby admitted, in sworn testimony back in 2005, to giving at least one woman Quaaludes and then having sex with her. The filings, which The Associated Press had pushed to release, were part of a case brought by a different woman. NPR's Mandalit del Barco joined us for more, and we should warn you that this interview includes topics that may not be suitable for young listeners. Good morning.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: First, Mandalit, you have covered the allegations against Bill Cosby for months now. What is new here?

DEL BARCO: Well, Renee, as you know, over the years, Bill Cosby's been accused by more than two dozen women who say he sexually assaulted them. Some of them say they were also drugged. But now, for the first time, we can see Cosby testifying under oath, admitting that he had seven prescriptions for Quaaludes in the 1970s, sedatives that he intended to give to women he wanted to have sex with. In court in 2005, Cosby admitted he gave drugs to at least one woman, though this particular case was brought on by Andrea Constand, a women's basketball administrator at Temple University. Constand contends that she had met Cosby at his mansion in Pennsylvania and that he tricked her into taking some pills and then sexually assaulted her. She sued him for battery assault and other charges, and she named nine other women who testified that he had done something very similar to them. Well, fast forward to yesterday when the Associated Press successfully got the court to release those documents, despite the objections of Cosby's lawyers that it would reveal what they said would be terribly embarrassing details about the comedian.

MONTAGNE: Embarrassing, I'm sure, but I'm wondering what Cosby himself has said, if anything, and also others who've accused him of drugging and raping them.

DEL BARCO: Well, I reached out to Bill Cosby's lawyer and his publicist for a comment, and I haven't heard back. But he's been mum on the issue for years, saying that the allegations were attempts to exploit his celebrity status. You might remember, Renee, last November, NPR's own Scott Simon had one of the few interviews with Cosby in which he was asked about the allegations.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

SCOTT SIMON, BYLINE: This question gives me no pleasure, Mr. Cosby, but there have been serious allegations raised about you in recent days. You're shaking your head no. I'm in the news business. I have to ask the question. Do you have any response to those charges? Shaking your head no.

MONTAGNE: And Bill Cosby did not, in fact, ever answer that question.

DEL BARCO: Right. And as for his alleged victims, well, more and more of them have been speaking out, and now some of them say they feel somewhat vindicated by the release of this testimony. You know, last year, I went to a press conference where three women tearfully recounted their experiences with Bill Cosby. One of them said she met him when she was just 17. She said Cosby gave her a blue pill and double shots of amaretto before he raped her.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And I blacked out. Thirteen to 16 hours later, I woke up to him clapping his hands, saying daddy says wake up.

DEL BARCO: Now this was a different case altogether, but this woman's attorney, Gloria Allred, has been representing a number of other women who say Cosby did something very similar to them. And yesterday, Allred said this news confirms their allegations.

MONTAGNE: And, Mandalit, what is next?

DEL BARCO: Well, Bill Cosby has never been criminally charged, and the statute of limitations has passed on most of the accusations. But attorney Gloria Allred last night said she hopes to use the newly unsealed testimony in other cases against the comedian, so we'll have to see.

MONTAGNE: That's NPR arts correspondent, Mandalit del Barco. Thanks so much.

DEL BARCO: Thank you, Renee. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.