Here's one gag Bill Cosby didn't get.
A federal judge in Philadelphia has rejected the funnyman's request for a gag order in the ongoing doping-and-groping civil case against Cosby.
U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno said Thursday that while Cosby may be embarrassed by the allegations, it was not ground to ban either side from publicly discussing details of the case. In fact, Robreno stated, out-of-court statements might even be helpful.
"The lamp of public scrutiny shining brightly over the proceedings can assist the court in reaching a just result under the watchful eye of an informed public," the judge said.
Robreno promised to reexamine the issue should the case devolve into a "circus atmosphere." The judge also noted that all attorneys are bound by rules of conduct prohibiting them from prejudicing the jury pool via any ill-advised comments to the press and could face sanctions if they go too far.
While the judge refused to grant Cosby's gag, he did grant the 67-year-old entertainer a minor victory. Robreno refused a request by his accuser's camp to keep confidential the names of at least 10 other women whom the plaintiff's attorneys may call as witnesses to testify about alleged past misbehavior by the erstwhile Cliff Huxtable.
The judge based his ruling on the fact that none of the women's own attorneys sought to keep their client's identity secret and that the accuser's legal team failed to show ample cause as to why the women shouldn't be named. Of the 10, only one has been identified and the rest have been listed as "Jane Does." The one who did go public, 57-year-old Tamara Green, is a California-based attorney who told the Philadelphia Daily News that Cosby drugged and molested her some three decades ago.
Former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, 31, sued Cosby in March after prosecutors refused to bring criminal charges in response to her allegations that Cosby sexually molested her. The local D.A. said there was "insufficient credible and admissible evidence" to pursue the case, and the yearlong delay between the alleged incident and Constand coming forward damaged her credibility.
According to her complaint, Constand joined Cosby and other friends for dinner at a Philly restaurant in January 2004. After the meal, Cosby invited her back to his home and offered to counsel her about her future. While there, she told him about her sleeping problems and claims he gave her three blue pills he described were "herbal medicine" that rendered her "barely conscious." The suit states that it was at that point during her drug haze that the sexual molestation occurred.
Cosby, who considered himself a friend and mentor to the woman, has denied the accusations. In his only public statement about the allegations, he told the National Enquirer that he believed he was the target of a shakedown. Cosby did acknowledge that he gave her an over-the-counter allergy medication and apologized if his actions were misconstrued.