A federal appeals court on Monday rejected Bill Cosby’s effort to reseal his deposition testimony about extramarital affairs, prescription sedatives and payments to women, saying the documents are now a matter of public knowledge.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled that the comedian’s appeal was moot. “The contents of the documents are a matter of public knowledge, and we cannot pretend that we could change that fact by ordering them resealed,” the court wrote in an opinion.
Cosby’s attorneys hoped a ruling in their favour could help them keep the documents from being used in the criminal case against him in Pennsylvania and in the many lawsuits filed around the country by women who accuse him of sexual assault or defamation.
Cosby gave the testimony in 2005 as part of a lawsuit brought against him by Andrea Constand, a Temple University employee who said he drugged and molested her at his home. She later settled for an undisclosed sum, and sensitive documents in the file remained sealed.
In the nearly 1,000-page deposition, the married comic once known as “America’s Dad” for his beloved portrayal of Dr. Cliff Huxtable on his top-ranked 1980s TV show, “The Cosby Show,” admitted to several extramarital affairs and said he obtained quaaludes to give to women he hoped to seduce.
The documents were released last year. U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno found the public had a right to Cosby’s testimony because of his role as a self-appointed “public moralist” and because he had denied accusations he drugged and molested women.