Bill Cosby’s lawyers filed a motion Tuesday to prevent jurors at his upcoming sex-assault trial from hearing the actor admit giving women quaaludes, money or educational funds, saying the testimony would unfairly prejudice them.
“The testimony about quaaludes and the alleged provision of money or educational funds is quintessentially the kind of evidence that causes ‘unfair prejudice,'” Cosby’s lawyers wrote in advance of a hearing on the issue Monday.
Cosby acknowledged in a decade-old deposition that he gave one woman quaaludes and a string of women alcohol or pills before sex. He also said that he offered some women money or an education fund.
However, Common Pleas Judge Steven O’Neill has ruled that most of them can’t testify, so the defense wants his deposition testimony about them excluded as well.
Cosby, 79, is charged with drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, a then-Temple University basketball team manager, in 2004.
Dozens of other women have made similar accusations, but O’Neill will allow only one of them to testify, a woman who worked for his agent and said she was drugged and assaulted in 1996. She is not part of the deposition because she had not yet come forward.
Cosby, in the deposition, said he had gotten seven prescriptions for quaaludes in the 1970s to give women before sex. He said he did not use quaaludes or other drugs himself. The powerful sedative was banned in the U.S. in 1983, and Cosby said he no longer had any on hand when he befriended Constand 20 years later.
“Quaaludes have not been available in this country for two decades,” lawyers Brian McMonagle and Angela Agrusa wrote in the filing. “Any discussion of quaaludes would only divert the jury away from its duty of weighing the evidence as to Ms. Constand, the only alleged victim.”
Cosby offered Constand an educational fund in a taped phone call made days after she accused him of sexual misconduct in early 2005. Constand’s mother told him they just wanted an apology. Constand then went to police, and sued Cosby when prosecutors at the time declined to press charges. A new prosecutor reopened the case in 2015 after Cosby’s deposition became public and more women came forward.
The trial is set to start June 5 in Montgomery County, outside of Philadelphia. Cosby has pleaded not guilty. O’Neill has said the jury can hear the taped phone call.