An attorney who represented Bill Cosby in a 2005 sexual assault lawsuit has vowed to investigate how the comedian’s decade-old deposition became public after the New York Times published portions of the document on Saturday.
Patrick O’Connor told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the deposition paints his former client in an unfair light and that its release violates the terms of the case’s 2006 settlement agreement.
“How that deposition became public without being court-sanctioned is something we are going to pursue and deal with very vigorously,” O’Connor told the paper on Sunday. “It’s an outrage that the court processes weren’t followed here.”
On Saturday, the Times published previously unseen excerpts of the 2005 deposition, in which Cosby detailed his relationship with Andrea Constand, a former Temple University basketball manager who claimed the comedian drugged and molested her at his Pennsylvania home. The paper reported that the document revealed Cosby to be an “unapologetic, cavalier playboy, someone who used a combination of fame, apparent concern and powerful sedatives in a calculated pursuit of young women.”
O’Connor, now the chairman of Temple’s board of trustees, also told the Inquirer that the deposition’s release is unfair because a confidentiality clause in the settlement bars Cosby from responding, and that Constand’s deposition remains under seal by the court.
In its story, the Times noted that while the 62-page memorandum of law in the case, published earlier this month by the Associated Press, was initially barred from release due to the settlement’s confidentiality clause, “the deposition itself was never sealed… The Times later learned that the transcript was publicly available through a court reporting service.”
A spokesman for the Times said the paper had legally acquired the deposition.
“The judge in the case had declined in 2005 to enter a confidentiality order making the depositions confidential so there was no court order sealing the testimony, then or now,” the spokesman told the Hollywood Reporter. “Once we obtained the transcript, we were free to report on Mr. Cosby’s testimony.”
O’Connor is under fire himself from a Temple University professor who says the school should address the allegations against Cosby.
“We’ve heard nothing from him (O’Connor) about this,” business professor faculty member union president Art Hochner told the Inquirer. “I think Temple owes it to its employees and its students to talk about this. especially considering that sexual assault and sexual discrimination are big issues on college campuses.”
In a statement, Temple President Neil D. Theobald said the school’s administration “knew nothing of the previously sealed disclosures about Bill Cosby that have recently appeared in the news media. To our understanding, this deposition was subject to a confidentiality order and only those involved in the case were privy to its contents.”