US comedian Cosby offered pills, payments and mentorship to women: NYT

Actor Bill Cosby speaks at the National Action Network's 20th annual Keepers of the Dream Awards gala in New York.
Actor Bill Cosby speaks at the National Action Network's 20th annual Keepers of the Dream Awards gala in New York. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - US comedian Bill Cosby said he offered pills and payments to women he had sexual encounters with, and tried to hide it from his wife, according to court documents cited in the New York Times Saturday.

The newspaper obtained a transcript from a deposition Cosby gave 10 years ago as part of a lawsuit from former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, who accused him of drugging and molesting her.

Cosby said he acted as a mentor to Constand, and wooed her by "inviting her to my house, talking to her about personal situations dealing with her life, growth, education," according to the deposition quoted in the Times.

The pair remained in contact for several years, and one night at his house in Pennsylvania he said he gave her one and a half tablets of Benadryl to relieve stress. They reportedly kissed and had sexual contact afterward, according to the newspaper.

But Constand's lawyer said she believed he gave her a much stronger drug.

Constand maintains she was not seeking money from Cosby, but the actor said his wife would have likely thought support he provided her was for her education.

"My wife would not know it was because Andrea and I had had sex and that Andrea was now very, very upset and that she decided that she would like to go to school," he is quoted as saying in the deposition.

Cosby channeled funds to another woman through her agent so his wife would not find out, according to the newspaper.

Cosby, now 78, maintains any sexual relations he had with Constand were consensual, and accuses her of lying.

"I think Andrea is a liar and I know she's a liar because I was there. I was there." Constand's lawsuit was settled with Cosby on undisclosed terms, the Times reported.

Elsewhere in the document, Cosby insisted he did not have non-consensual sex with anyone.

"I am a man, the only way you will hear about who I had sex with is from the person I had it with," he said.

In the deposition, Cosby describes sexual encounters with at least five women, and a "romantic" interest in two more, according to the Times.

He said he spoke with one woman, model Beth Ferrier, about her career and her father who had died of cancer.

The lawyer questions Cosby's motives: "Did you ask her those questions because you wanted to have sexual contact with her?" In response, Cosby said "yes," according to the deposition.

Cosby has never been charged with a crime, though the embattled actor has been accused by dozens of women of attacks going back decades.

This month, a federal judge made public an admission from Cosby, given behind closed doors, that he used Quaalude sedatives to lure at least one woman into having sex.

Cosby, a pioneering African-American comedian and cultural megastar who played a family doctor and beloved father on the hit 1980s sitcom "The Cosby Show," has lost public supporters in the wake of the sex scandal, including most recently Oscar-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg.