Bill Cosby granted the National Enquirer an exclusive interview in 2005, discussing a rape accusation against him in a civil lawsuit, as part of a backroom deal to get the popular supermarket tabloid to kill a story about a second woman accusing him of sexual assault at the same time, according to Cosby himself in sworn testimony.
Cosby’s deposition was given under oath in the 2005 lawsuit brought by former women’s prop basketball player Andrea Constand, who accused Cosby of drugging then sexually assaulting her at his home in January of 2004.
The National Enquirer also had story about a second woman, Beth Ferrier, who also alleged — and still alleges today — that Cosby slipped drugs into her coffee then took advantage of her sexually.
In sworn testimony for Contsand’s lawsuit against him, Cosby admitted that he talked the tabloid into suppressing the Ferrier story by offering the Enquirer an exclusive interview telling his side of the story regarding Constand’s accusations.
Ferrier was listed as “Jane Doe #5” in Constand’s lawsuit, which referred to other women accusing Cosby of sexual assault as “Jane Doe.”
Cosby said in his previously secret September 29, 2005, testimony that he was worried about the National Enquirer printing Ferrier’s story because readers would then be more likely to believe Constand’s allegations.
“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?” lawyers asked Cosby in his sworn deposition.
“Exactly,” Cosby replied, adding that he has entered into a contract with the tabloid. “I would give them an exclusive story, my words, they would not print the story of — print Beth’s story.”
Earlier this month the Associated Press released video of an interview with Cosby in which he tried to get a mention of the rape allegations against him “scuttled.”
The Cosby National Enquirer interview led to a second lawsuit against him by Andrea Constand, in which she claimed that the Cosby Show star had defamed her in his statements to the tabloid.
Cosby settled both the sexual assault claims and the defamation accusation out of court, ending the lawsuit.
Constand was director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University in Philadelphia, Cosby’s alma mater, when the comedian befriended her. Cosby himself ranks among the top athletes in Temple history.
In her lawsuit, Constand alleged that after the two had been friends for some months, Cosby offered to help her with her career and invited her to his home in the wealthy Philadelphia suburb of Cheltenham.
When she got there, she told Cosby that she was “stressed” about her career and he gave her what he said was “herbal” medication to calm her mood. Instead, she immediately became extremely woozy and Cosby helped her lie down on a sofa.
The lawsuit described what happened next, according to Constand’s account.
“Subsequently, Defendant positioned himself behind Plaintiff on the sofa, touched her breasts and vaginal area, rubbed his penis against her hand, and digitally penetrated her,” the suit alleged. “Plaintiff remained in a semi-conscious state throughout the time of this ordeal. At no time was Plaintiff capable of consent after the pills affected her, and at no time did she consent to Defendant’s acts.”
Cosby gave the National Enquirer interview nine years ago, but sexual assault and rape allegations surfaced again this year, with 19 women now stating publicly that Cosby attacked them.