Cosby said he blocked 2005 tabloid story about sex-assault accuser

Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:37pm EST
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(Reuters) - Comedian Bill Cosby struck a deal with the National Enquirer in 2005 to give the tabloid an exclusive interview about a woman's sexual-assault accusations after it promised to scrap an article about a second woman's allegations, according to news reports on a newly unsealed deposition given by Cosby.

Cosby described the deal under oath in a deposition in 2005 after he was sued by Andrea Constand, who accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her.

Cosby agreed to discuss Constand's allegations with the Enquirer if the tabloid agreed not to publish a damaging interview with Beth Ferrier, a former model who described previously unreported allegations of a similar nature, the New York Times reported.

During the past few weeks, more than a dozen women have come forward with accusations that Cosby, 77, sexually assaulted them at some point in the past few decades. NBC and Netflix have since canceled planned projects with Cosby and promoters have pulled out of some of the dates on Cosby's U.S. stand-up comedy tour.

Cosby has repeatedly declined to comment on the allegations, and his lawyers have said they have previously been discredited.

The documents detailing Cosby's 2005 deposition were only recently unsealed at Philadelphia's Federal District Court and released to some news outlets on Wednesday. The clerk's office at the court was unable to provide copies of the documents to Reuters.

"I would give them an exclusive story, my words," Cosby said of his deal with the Enquirer, according to the Times' account of the documents.

"Did you ever think that if Beth Ferrier's story was printed in the National Enquirer, that that would make the public believe that maybe Andrea was also telling the truth?" he was asked.

"Exactly," Cosby replied. The subsequent Enquirer article quoted Cosby complaining that his accusers were trying to exploit his celebrity status and he later settled the suit with Constand on undisclosed terms.   Continued...

Actor Bill Cosby speaks at the National Action Network's 20th annual Keepers of the Dream Awards gala in New York April 6, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson