PHILADELPHIA — Bill Cosby's lawyers argued on Tuesday that his admission to using quaaludes in the 1970s doesn't mean he drugged and sexually assaulted women.
The comments came as the lawyers asked a court to preserve the confidentiality of Cosby's 2006 settlement in a sexual-battery lawsuit, which the accuser wants unsealed.
Cosby's lawyers instead attacked the weekend release of his deposition by a court reporting service and said the deposition and other filings unsealed this month have led to erroneous reports that brand Cosby a rapist.
"The media immediately pounced, inaccurately labeling the released testimony as defendant's 'confession' of 'drugging' women and assaulting them," Cosby lawyers Patrick O'Connor and George Gowen wrote. "Reading the media accounts, one would conclude that defendant has admitted to rape. And yet defendant admitted to nothing more than being one of the many people who introduced quaaludes into their consensual sex life in the 1970's."
Cosby, who's 78 years old, has been married for more than half a century. A federal judge in Philadelphia cited his self-imposed role as a "public moralist" in deciding to release long-sealed documents that contained excerpts from his deposition, in which he speaks of getting quaaludes to give women before sex.
Cosby, who starred as Dr. Cliff Huxtable on "The Cosby Show" from 1984 to 1992, said that he did not take drugs or drink alcohol during the encounters with the women.
"There are countless tales of celebrities, music stars, and wealthy socialites in the 1970's willingly using quaaludes for recreational purposes and during consensual sex," his lawyers wrote, noting the pills were then called "disco biscuits."
The decade-old deposition represents the only time Cosby is known to have testified under oath about sexual-assault allegations. A former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand, told police Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted her at his Philadelphia-area home. She called Cosby a friend and mentor. Cosby in the deposition portrayed her as a willing partner. She sued him after a prosecutor declined to press charges.
More than two dozen women have come forward since 2005 to accuse Cosby of molesting them. His agents have disputed many of their accounts, and he has not been charged with a crime.
The Associated Press obtained the full transcripts of Cosby's deposition from the court recording agency on Sunday, a day after The New York Times reported it had obtained them.