Bill Cosby admitted in a 2005 deposition that he obtained quaaludes, a sedative, with the intent of giving them to women he wanted to have sex with, according to records obtained by the Associated Press on Monday.
The admission was contained in records that were unsealed after the AP went to court to compel their release. Cosby's attorneys had reportedly sought to keep the records sealed, arguing that they would be embarrassing.
According to the AP, Cosby, under oath in a lawsuit, testified that he gave a former Temple University employee three half-pills of Benadryl. He eventually settled the lawsuit for undisclosed terms.
The attorney who represented Cosby in the Philadelphia case did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment. In the deposition, Cosby referred to quaaludes multiple times.
In one recollection, he talked about one woman whom he met backstage.
"I give her quaaludes. We then have sex," Cosby said under questioning by the plaintiff's lawyer.
The revelation about the quaaludes comes after three more women in April joined more than a dozen others in accusing the 77-year-old comedian of drugging and sexually assaulting them.
Cosby has never been criminally charged, but his accusers pointed to the testimony as vindication.
The attorney for former supermodel Janice Dickinson, who filed a defamation lawsuit against Cosby in May based on denials made by his representatives after she accused him of raping her in 1982, released a statement.
"If today's report is true, Mr. Cosby admitted under oath 10 years ago the very conduct Janice Dickinson has accused him of — sedating women to make them more sexually compliant," the attorney, Lisa Bloom, said. "Given that, how dare he publicly vilify Ms. Dickinson and accuse her of lying?"
Gloria Allred, who represents many of Cosby's accusers, said in a statement that she hopes to use the unsealed testimony in other court cases against the comedian, saying the testimony "confirms the allegations of numerous victims who have said that he has used drugs in order to sexually assault them."
"This admission is one that Mr. Cosby has attempted to hide from the public for many years and we are very gratified that it is now being made public," Allred said.
The woman referred to in the court records unsealed Monday had filed the lawsuit after prosecutors declined to file charges. She claimed that Cosby assaulted her at his mansion in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, in early 2004 after giving her pills. Cosby contended that he gave the woman Benadryl after she complained of stress and sleeping problems.
In Pennsylvania, adult victims of sexual assault may report the crime to police within 12 years. Those who were underage at the time of the assault may report within 12 years of their 18th birthday.
Pennsylvania law also considers sexual intercourse to be rape when a person has “substantially impaired” a victim’s ability to control his or her conduct by drugging them “for the purpose of preventing resistance” without their knowledge.
Victims may file a civil lawsuit, where the standard of guilt is a “preponderance of the evidence” — essentially, more than 50% of the evidence favors guilt. The standard is much higher in criminal cases: Prosecutors must first determine whether there is enough evidence to file charges. And if so, the crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt for the suspect to be found guilty.