Great Moments in Lawyering: Bill Cosby’s Attorneys Say He’s Not a Public Figure


Lawyers for Bill Cosby—one of the best-known (and now notorious) entertainers in the industry, star of stage, screen, and one of the most beloved television shows of all time—are claiming he’s not a public figure.

The claim came, according to The Hollywood Reporter, during a hearing Wednesday related to discovery motions in the case of Cosby vs. Andrea Constand, the first of many, many, many, many, many women to publically accuse Cosby of rape. The material, which “not only includes more about the sexual misconduct allegations, but also issues relating to Cosby’s health, use of prescription drugs, financial affairs and personal relationships,” was sealed when that suit was settled nine years ago.

But now, the Associated Press (which has a bit of history with Cosby on this stuff) has asked a Pennsylvania judge to unseal the records, “under a local rule of civil procedure that presumes an unsealing of records after two years unless the judge dictates otherwise.”

Cosby’s lawyers are, obviously, attempting to sway the judge to dictate otherwise, and here’s where it gets really comical. In the brief on the matter, Cosby attorney George Gowan argues against the release not only because of the “voracious media appetite for Defendant’s deposition,” but, totally contrarily insists Bill Cosby “is not a public official, nor is the relevant information important to public health or safety. … Defendant’s status as a well-known comedian and entertainer does not render him a ‘public’ person within the meaning of the law.”

The AP counters that Cosby is “unquestionably a public figure,” because duh. The court has not yet ruled on the AP’s request.