Bill Cosby Said Confidentiality Agreements Were Optional for Staff

© Evan Vucci/Associated Press Bill Cosby at a news conference last year.
© Evan Vucci/Associated Press Bill Cosby at a news conference last year.

Bill Cosby had a chef and a housekeeper, as well as pilots and a chauffeur. 

But we may never know what they saw.

Four days of deposition testimony from a decade ago show Mr. Cosby as an unapologetic philanderer in a calculated pursuit of young women.

But another detail to emerge from Mr. Cosby’s deposition for a lawsuit by a young woman who accused him of drugging and molesting her was that some — though perhaps not all, it seems — of the domestic staff in his busy, celebrity-fueled life had signed confidentiality agreements.

These powerful documents, demanding the highest secrecy, are common among superstars.

They protect against assistants with tales to tell — even after they have left their positions — or prying journalists willing to pay for information.

But the apparent mismatch between Mr. Cosby’s public image and his private life raises the question about whether he needed the agreements more than most.

“We ask them — they have a choice,” Mr. Cosby said early on in the deposition.

“And if they don’t sign,” said Dolores M. Troiani, the lawyer for the young woman who had brought the suit. “What happens?”

“We kill them,” Mr. Cosby replied in jest. “No, they just don’t sign.”

While he asked his staff members to consent to a degree of confidentiality to prevent them from sharing what they knew about his personal life, it is not clear whether there was ever anything much for them to see.

During his deposition, taken in a hotel in Philadelphia in the fall of 2005 and the spring of 2006, Mr. Cosby also made clear the efforts he made to keep his encounters with at least one woman, Andrea Constand, who filed the civil case, private.

During the deposition, Mr. Cosby described an intimate dinner when he maneuvered Ms. Constand, who worked at Temple University as a basketball manager, out to the back porch of his home in Pennsylvania to avoid being spotted by his chef.

“It’s not a solarium, it’s the back porch or side porch where Andrea is standing like this, because I turned her this way,” Mr. Cosby said. “And the reason I’ve done this is because from the dining room, which comes from the kitchen, the kitchen, dining room, there’s a shot straight back to the back, this living room we’re at with the fireplace. And I don’t want the chef to come out and see if we are in some kind of position.”

Ms. Constand eventually went to the police to report Mr. Cosby’s behavior, but Mr. Cosby has never been charged with a crime and has repeatedly denied the accusations of sexual assault, now leveled by dozens of women.

Mr. Cosby’s publicist, David Brokaw, did not respond to requests for comment by phone and email on Sunday.

Source: The New York Times | SYDNEY EMBER and GRAHAM BOWLEY

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