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Cosby jokes on stage about doping drink (2005)

A little over a week after being cleared of doping and groping a former Temple University women's basketball executive, Bill Cosby joked during a performance at the State Theater in New Brunswick, N.J., about whether he had slipped drugs into a woman's drink.

"He brought this woman up from the audience," said Stuart Zakim, a spokesman for the National Enquirer, who happened to be in the audience for the Feb. 26 show. "He said, 'Before I get started, let me ask you: Did I put anything into your drink? She said, 'No. ' "

She was laughing and the audience was hysterical, Zakim said.

"I laughed, too," Zakim said. "It was very smart on his part. Obviously the people who went to see him are fans and are aware of what's been going on and that the charges were never filed. "

On Feb. 17, Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor announced he wasn't filing criminal charges in connection with the Temple woman's complaint that Cosby had drugged and groped her at his Cheltenham Township mansion. The woman quit her Temple job after the alleged assault and returned to her native Canada. A year after the incident, she reported it to the police.

The Canadian woman's lawyers say she'll soon file a civil lawsuit against Cosby.

Zakim took Cosby's joke to be a reference to the Canadian woman's allegations. Cosby attorney Marty Singer and Cosby spokesman David Brokaw took no issue with Zakim's account of what Cosby had said. But they said Cosby's joke had not been about the Canadian woman.

Brokaw said Cosby's joke referred to a Feb. 14 story in the National Enquirer in which Shawn Upshaw was quoted as saying that during an affair she had with the comedian, he had given her "a funny-tasting drink. "

"And then she says she woke up, knowing that something funny had happened, knowing she was pregnant. The morning after, so to speak," Brokaw said, ridiculing Upshaw's story.

Singer said Cosby had been joking "about a woman who sold a story to a tabloid" - not about the Canadian woman.

"He's never treated it in a joking or light manner," Singer said, referring to the allegations raised by the Canadian woman. He added that Upshaw's story was false.

Upshaw's daughter is Autumn Jackson, who threatened to tell the world she was Cosby's daughter if the entertainer didn't pay her $24 million. Autumn Jackson was convicted of extortion and sentenced to 26 months in jail. Cosby admitted having had an affair with Upshaw in the early-1970s, but denies having fathered Autumn Jackson.

In a phone interview last week, Upshaw said Cosby's joke had been "in poor taste. "

With regard to her story, she said, "He's making light of it as damage control. He's trying to make the community think he didn't do it; that's why he can joke about it." *