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A federal judge said one of the reasons he unsealed court documents in which Bill Cosby admits he gave a woman drugs before sex is because of the disconnect between the comedian's upright public persona and the serious allegations against him.
"The stark contrast between Bill Cosby, the public moralist and Bill Cosby, the subject of serious allegations concerning improper (and perhaps criminal) conduct is a matter as to which the AP — and by extension the public — has a significant interest," Judge Eduardo Robreno wrote in a memorandum Monday. The documents were released after a request from The Associated Press.
Cosby said in a 2005 legal deposition that he had obtained prescriptions of a powerful sedative to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex, according to the documents. His testimony was part of a civil suit involving a woman who accused him of drugging her and sexually assaulting her.
The actor was not charged in connection with these claims and the case was dismissed in 2006.
His lawyers had fought the documents' release, saying it would be "terribly embarrassing." Last month, Cosby's lawyers and lawyers for the AP argued over whether Cosby was a public figure entitled to a lesser degree of privacy.
Robreno wrote Monday that the case "is not about the Defendant's status as a public person by virtue of the exercise of his trade as a televised or comedic personality. Rather, Defendant has donned the mantle of public moralist and mounted the proverbial electronic or print soap box to volunteer his views on, among other things, childrearing, family life, education, and crime."
Cosby has made himself part of these public issues and therefore has "voluntarily narrowed the zone of privacy that he is entitled to claim," the judge wrote.
The judge's statements in the 25-page memorandum were just some of the rationales for unsealing the documents that he outlines for both parties in the case.
More than two dozen women have accused Cosby of sexually assaulting them. Cosby, who has never been charged, denies the allegations, and is trying to get several court cases thrown out. Calls to Cosby's Philadelphia-based attorney by NBC News were not immediately returned on Monday afternoon.