In what appeared to be a new public campaign to defend Bill Cosby, a lawyer for the entertainer began a series of appearances on various media outlets Wednesday, pushing back against what she described as misleading news reports that were defaming her client.
After several weeks of silence since parts of Cosby’s deposition in a 2005 lawsuit became public, the lawyer, Monique Pressley, said the deposition should remain secret and that he had never admitted to giving drugs to women without their consent so he could have sex with them.
“Mr. Cosby has denied the accusations that have been lodged thus far,” Pressley said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“The sheer volume or number of people who are saying a particular thing does not make it true,” she said.
More than two dozen women have said Cosby sexually assaulted them. He has repeatedly denied the accusations and has not been charged with any crimes.
Cosby’s advisers said Pressley would be speaking to a number of news outlets throughout the day on Wednesday.
Her comments came a day after Cosby’s lawyers made a legal filing asserting that the entertainer had been smeared by some news media accounts that inaccurately portrayed his testimony in the case. The accounts suggested, they said, that Cosby had said he used powerful sedatives to drug women so he could molest them, something he has denied.
Even though in the deposition he admitted to obtaining Quaaludes to give to women to have sex, this did not mean he had done so without their consent, his lawyers said. Rather, he was just one of many people who “introduced Quaaludes into their consensual sex life in the 1970s,” they said.
“Quaaludes were a highly popular recreational drug in the 1970s, labeled in slang as ‘disco biscuits,’ and known for their capacity to increase sexual arousal,” the court filing said.
Pressley repeated this assertion in the “Good Morning America” interview on Wednesday.
Pressley also defended Cosby’s response in the deposition to a question about whether one woman had been in a position to consent to sexual intercourse after he gave her Quaaludes in 1976. Pressley said his reply — “I don’t know” — should be taken in context.
“What he was speaking to in the deposition, if you look at it contextually, is her state of mind, which no person, as you know, can testify to,” she said. Pressley also indirectly addressed the defamation claims against Cosby, saying, “If anyone is being defamed right now — through media, through celebrity onlookers, through others — it’s Mr. Cosby.”
In the filing on Tuesday, Cosby’s lawyers criticized the release of his full deposition in the 2005 civil case brought by Andrea Constand, a Temple University basketball manager who accused him of drugging and molesting her. They said it should never have been released. The Constand case was settled in 2006, and the parties agreed to keep documents from the case confidential as part of the settlement.
Constand, the lawyers said, was now trying to “smear the defendant.”
The filing was made Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. It was an effort to block the further release of his full deposition, which became available last week from the court reporting service that transcribed it a decade ago.
A few weeks earlier, the federal judge in the case unsealed a separate memorandum in the court file that contained some excerpts from the deposition, including parts of Cosby’s testimony in which he acknowledged that he had given Quaaludes to women he had sex with. After the release of those excerpts, some news articles suggested Cosby had been “drugging” women. Many others, however, presented Cosby’s side that, while he had used drugs in sexual encounters, the drug-taking and sex were, in his words, consensual.