04:18 - Source: CNN
Bill Cosby attorney: Offering drugs not a crime

Story highlights

Cosby attorney Monique Pressley reiterated that Cosby denies the allegations

CNN asks why Cosby isn't speaking, Pressley stresses his attorneys "are speaking for him"

Cosby spoke about affairs he had outside his marriage in a 2005-2006 deposition

CNN  — 

This past week a 2005-2006 deposition was released in which Bill Cosby answered questions from an attorney representing Andrea Constand, a former Temple University basketball coach who accused him of drugging and sexually assaulting her. More than 20 women have said that Cosby sexually assaulted them. The actor has denied all allegations and has never been charged with a crime.

Read some highlights from Cosby’s deposition here.

On Thursday, one of Cosby’s attorneys, Monique Pressley, was interviewed on CNN’s “New Day,” marking the first time one of Cosby’s attorneys has spoken since the deposition came to light.

This is the complete exchange between Pressley and anchor Alisyn Camerota.

Camerota: It’s very nice to have you here because it has been a challenge for the past nine months to cover this story without ever hearing from Bill Cosby. So what does Mr. Cosby say about these now more than 25 women who have come forward to accuse him of sexual assault and rape?

Pressley: I’m not certain what you mean by saying that you never hear from Bill Cosby since through his attorneys he, from the very beginning, has denied repeatedly the accusations and allegations that have been lodged against him.

Camerota: We have had written statements from the attorneys. You are the first person that we are able to speak to live, but we haven’t heard from Bill Cosby personally. So I’m wondering what has he told you about these accusations?

Pressley: Certainly, I’m not going to reveal client confidences. I’m counsel for Mr. Cosby and anything that he says to me is said in confidence. But when his attorneys speak we are speaking for him. So when we speak and say that he denies all of the allegations and accusations then that is the statement of Bill Cosby. When you look at the recent filings, just as recently as two days ago in another case in Pennsylvania, those are the statements of Mr. Cosby. It’s not necessary for him to do anything more than what he is doing, which is relying on able counsel to speak for him in a situation where he, one, has neither been charged with, nor two, convicted of any crime. So, even though we hear excerpts from accusers and see headlines that discuss things like calling him a rapist or saying that he has committed sexual assault ,the case actually is in a civil court and there are no criminal charges filed. And I think it’s important, no matter what manner the attorneys are speaking for him or the media is covering it, that that’s a point that stays clear.

Camerota: It’s not just excerpts from accusers. We’ve also heard Mr. Cosby in his own words. These are revelations that have come out of this deposition from the 2005 Andrea Constand case. One of the big headlines from that is that Bill Cosby admits that he got seven prescriptions for the powerful sedative called Quaaludes not so that he could use them but so that he could give them to women that he wanted to have sex with. And we have heard from the accusers that he did give them the powerful sedative, so powerful that they could not consent to sex with him. What is your response to that revelation?

Pressley: And it’s not really a revelation that Quaaludes were used in the ’70s. They were commonly used as a partying drug and they were also known to be used to increase sexual arousal. And Mr. Cosby admitted in his deposition to offering one person who he was in a relationship with Quaaludes during that time period, and that that person accepted it. And so when we see, again, excerpts saying it is a powerful sedative but not talking about the fact that it was also commonly used party drug during the ‘70s.

Camerota: Ms. Pressley, I have interviewed eleven of the accusers. None of them were Quaalude users. Furthermore, none of them consented to using Quaaludes. They all accepted a drink – sometimes a cappuccino, not even an alcoholic drink – and afterward they became unconscious.

Pressley: The interesting part about you saying that you’ve interviewed them and then you accept what they said is true. However, when you listen to the denial of the accusations by Mr. Cosby through his attorneys repeatedly from the beginning that’s looked at and scoffed –

Camerota: So why did he get seven prescriptions for Quaaludes? That sounds like more than just one woman that he offered a Quaalude to. That sounds like he wanted to give them to women. And in fact in his own words, he says they were the purpose of giving to women, plural.

Pressley: And what you’re discussing is not a crime for a person to offer a substance in a consensual relationship to a person with knowledge and for them to choose to accept it is not criminal. It isn’t even news, actually.

Camerota: They said they had no choice, that he slipped it to them. What is his response to that?

Pressley: As he said a number of times, that’s been denied, one, that he ever slipped without a person’s knowing, male or female, a drug of any sort to them and, two, that there was ever between him and any other adult nonconsensual sex. Those two things – and, actually if you look at the manner in which the people who are lodging the accusations have done so, we are seeing cases that come forward 10, 20, 30 and even 40 – such as the California case – 40 years later where it leaves the very precepts of our justice system unable to be followed through. What do I mean? We go to a court of law to determine how to mete out justice. We go there to figure out what is true and what is false. We can’t do that in these cases.

Camerota: The statute of limitations has passed for these women. That is true. They say that at the time –

Pressley: But it didn’t pass for the women. They chose to not come forward until after the statute of limitations.

Camerota: That’s not exactly right. They say they did try to get attention for what happened to them in the ’70s and ‘80s. They told friends, they told employers, they told lawyers, and all of them advised them, don’t mess with one of the most powerful men in the world. But let me ask you this, why do you think in that case, if you don’t believe any of these women’s accounts, why do you think more than 25 women would be coming forward to tell this very private and very upsetting account? You think they’re all lying?

Pressley: Here is the important and critical fact. It’s not about what I believe. It’s not about what I think. It’s not about even what the truth of the matter is 40 years later when we have no way of accessing witnesses who can verify the fact. The important matter is that in our system in the United States, and I love this about our country, we have a way for people who are accused of a crime to actually step forward and defend themselves. And for people who are accusing or bringing allegations to prove them in court. And when that system doesn’t work –

Camerota: Times are different now, as I think you’ll admit, but you say it’s not about the truth of the matter. It is about the truth of the matter. Do you believe these women or do you think they’re liars?

Pressley: I am here as counsel for Mr. Cosby. I am not here to assert a personal belief nor am I here to call them names. I’m here to say is that in this country Mr. Cosby is, one, innocent until proven guilty and, two, because of no fault of his own, these women did not come forward, there will not be an opportunity for him to disprove claims that are four decades old. I think that the fact that the sheer volume of the number of people who have come out is increasing others’ ability to then be tag-alongs and say, OK, if one is getting away with lodging accusations with no proof then perhaps two can, then perhaps 10 can, but that does not make it so.

Camerota: Next month Mr. Cosby will have the opportunity. Because as we just reported this morning the civil case of sexual assault, a judge is allowing this to move forward. This is the one that involves a [then-] 15-year-old who, she claims, was sexual assaulted at the Playboy mansion. And in fact Gloria Allred, her attorney, says that she expects to be able to depose Mr. Cosby in the next 30 days. Will he appear for that deposition?

Pressley: Well, I read the press release and I understand that that is her hope and her intention. But what this California Supreme Court did was really just put this case at the beginning posture that it was in. They were ruling on a technical issue about whether the filing could be amended or not. And they said that would not be heard.

Camerota: If called to do a deposition will he give a deposition?

Pressley: And certainly I’m not going to reveal strategies, tactics or intentions of my client to testify or not or advice of counsel about the matter. We will deal with that with the able counsel who are in California who are handling this case.

Camerota: You have been saying this has to be aired in a court of law. This is the opportunity. This is the opportunity next month for this to happen in a court of law. This is what you say Mr. Cosby has been waiting for. Will he let this be heard in a court of law?

Pressley: And I what I said to you is that through the court system when court cases are brought appropriately, then it’s handled by the defense and by the plaintiffs in the manner that it’s supposed to be. And that means that they make all of the decisions that are available to them in a court of law. That doesn’t mean that I’m gonna sit here today and tell you what I would advise Mr. Cosby to do or what his Los Angeles counsel would advise him to do or what his intentions are. It means that’s the forum, that the forum is not headlines from 70 years ago with one question and one answer from a deposition about the use of a party drug. Instead, we will see in the courtroom, in this case and in others, whether a defamation suit can hold up for a person who speaks up and says I deny the claims that are being lodged against me. We will see whether this claim that the police refused to prosecute will also become frivolous to the court in a civil case. All of those are things that we’ll find out in time. I know that that is the way the system should work. I pray it will work that way in this case.