Cosby's public denials of any wrongdoing have 'diminished his entitlement to a claim of privacy'
Bill Cosby
Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The judge who unsealed a 2005 deposition in which Bill Cosby admits to drugging women with the intent of having sex with them has spoken out with his reasons for releasing the documents.

Judge Eduardo Robreno — who has been a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania since 1992 — cited the “stark contrast” between the comedian’s public and private personas as one of the reasons for the public’s right to know, despite the insistence of Cosby’s lawyers that releasing the documents would “embarrass” the comedian.

The 2005 deposition came to light following a demand for its release from the Associated Press, a request Robreno writes was “legitimate” and neither “commercial” nor “prurient” in interest in a memo obtained by EW.

The federal judge goes on to acknowledge that Cosby’s position as a public figure does not automatically “surrender his privacy rights at the doorstep of the courthouse.” However, the allegations are part of the public domain — as are the vehement denials from Cosby and his legal team. “By joining the debate about the merits of the allegations against him, he has further diminished his entitlement to a claim of privacy,” the memo reads.

Furthermore, “The stark contrast between Bill Cosby, the public moralist and Bill Cosby, the subject of serious allegations concerning improper (and perhaps criminal) conduct, is a matter as to which the AP — and by extension the public — has a significant interest,” writes Robreno.

“[Cosby] has donned the mantle of public moralist and mounted the proverbial electronic or print soap box to volunteer his views on, among other things, childrearing, family life, education and crime,” Robreno continues. As such, “he has voluntarily narrowed the zone of privacy that he is entitled to claim,” given the serious crimes of which he’s been accused.

In the deposition — the result of a sexual-abuse lawsuit filed by a Temple University employee — Cosby testifies under oath that he had obtained Quaaludes with the intent of giving them to women with whom he wanted to have sex. He also admits to obtaining seven prescriptions for the drug and providing them to at least one woman. This particular case was settled for undisclosed terms in 2006, the AP reports.

More than 40 women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault against the 77-year-old Cosby, who has never been charged with a crime.

Model Janice Dickinson is one of Cosby’s accusers, alleging that the comedian assaulted her in 1982 — a charge which Cosby’s lawyers vehemently denied. In response, Dickinson filed suit against Cosby in May on the grounds that the denials of assault were defamatory. Cosby failed to appear in a deposition for the defamation lawsuit, and “now we know why,” Dickinson’s lawyer, Lisa Bloom, told the AP in a statement. “How dare he publicly vilify Ms. Dickinson and accuse her of lying when she tells a very similar story?”

Adds Bloom, “It is time for Mr. Cosby to stop hiding behind his attorneys and publicists and to publicly apologize to Ms. Dickinson and the 46 other women who have publicly accused him of sexual assault.”