An attorney for scandal-plagued comedian Bill Cosby is firing back at the president of Fordham University, a day after the school’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rescind the honorary doctorate that the school awarded Cosby, calling the school’s statements about the comedian “beyond the pale and worthy of contempt.”
In a letter to Fordham University president Joseph McShane, Cosby attorney John P. Schmitt blasts McShane with both barrels, saying that the school has made an “egregious” and “inexcusable” error.
Schmitt doesn’t take issue with the school’s decision to rescind the doctorate, which the lawyer disagrees with, but nonetheless is within the Board’ rights.
However, he takes extreme issue with the statement that accompanied the decision, which Schmitt calls “more befitting a tabloid journal rather than a respected institution of higher learning.”
In particular, Schmitt disparages the school’s claims that Cosby’s “now-public court depositions … confirm many of the allegations made against him by numerous women.” And that, “By his own admission, Mr. Cosby’s sexual exploitation of women was premeditated and ongoing.” And that “Mr. Cosby was willing to drug and rape women for his sexual gratification.”
Schmitt takes pains to note that Cosby has not been convicted of a crime, and denies the fact that the deposition amounted to a confirmation of the allegations against him.
“Nothing in the single deposition recently released lends any support to, much less ‘confirms,’ any such allegations. Nothing in his testimony admits to any nonconsensual sexual contact with any woman whatsoever,” Schmitt’s letter reads. “As you know, Mr. Cosby has been convicted of no crime and has steadfastly maintained his innocence.”
The deposition in question stemmed from a since-settled lawsuit brought against Cosby by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand. In the deposition, Cosby admitted to obtaining Quaaludes to give to women he hoped to have sex with.
Schmitt goes on to blast the school’s claim that Cosby has a “strategy of denigrating the reputations of women who accused him of such actions,” saying that the claim “seems intended to lend gratuitous support” to the defamation lawsuits that have been filed against Cosby by some of his accusers.
Schmitt stops short of threatening legal action, but concludes his letter, “On behalf of Mr. Cosby, we reserve all rights.”
The school rescinded the doctorate, which it gave to Cosby in 2001, on Thursday, marking the first time that the school has rescinded an honorary degree.
Cosby has been accused of rape or sexual assault by dozens of women, many of whom have said that the comedian drugged them beforehand.
The former “Cosby Show” star faces multiple lawsuits due to the accusations. However, his attorney has denied the allegations, and he has not been convicted of a crime.