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Bill Cosby battles allegations as he heads to Strip


Embattled comedy legend Bill Cosby has a Nov. 28 date at Treasure Island — for now.

Tickets were still being sold Sunday amid revived allegations that Cosby, 77, assaulted women in the past.

Cosby’s lawyer addressed the situation for the first time Sunday, saying Cosby will not dignify “decade-old, discredited” allegations of sexual abuse by commenting.

Cosby has been dropped from Wednesday’s guest spot on CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman.” Cosby’s appearance on “The Queen Latifah Show” was canceled recently as well.

Cosby’s headliner days in Las Vegas began in 1963, the year his comedy career exploded. He was missing from the scene for about a decade until Phil Ruffin, the new owner of Treasure Island, made the nine-time Grammy winner a regular starting in 2009.

Cosby’s attorney John P. Schmitt released the statement Sunday to The Associated Press and posted it online.

“He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work,” Schmitt said.

Talk-show host Rush Limbaugh weighed in, blaming the media for rehashing old allegations.

“It’s not like he did it yesterday,” Limbaugh said.

Actress Barbara Bowman told CNN in an interview that she was drugged and raped by Cosby when she was 19 years old. Cosby has weathered sexual abuse allegations over the years. They flared up again last month when comedian Hannibal Burress called Cosby a rapist during his stand-up act in Philadelphia, Cosby’s hometown.

RIO RUMBLINGS

There’s buzz around town that two announcements by Caesars Entertainment could be coming soon: 1) the sale of the Rio and 2) a new major headliner for Caesars Palace or Planet Hollywood.

Deutsche Bank has been representing Caesars Entertainment for the sale of the Rio.

Designed and built by resort architect Tony Marnell for $200 million, the Rio opened Jan. 15, 1990. In 1999, Harrah’s engineered a $767 million buyout.

If the rumored headliner deal that has Jennifer Lopez going to Planet Hollywood pans out, it might be a signal that Celine Dion could be returning to The Colosseum at Caesars Palace sooner than her planned return in March.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Las Vegas gaming icon Benny Binion will be honored by the Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame at its annual dinner Dec. 1 at the South Point.

“He’s already in the rodeo Hall of Fame, but they’re making him a legend,” said Binion’s daughter, Becky Behnen, who later ran Binion’s legendary Horseshoe casino.

“One of the reasons they’re choosing him is because he helped bring rodeo here 30 years ago,” she said.

“It was quite a feat to get it here. We took it from Oklahoma City. Reba McIntire wouldn’t talk to me for a year.”

The National Finals Rodeo runs from Dec. 4 through Dec. 13.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

In a city with endless wedding proposal site possibilities, this one got the attention of Jason Scott Deegan, senior staff writer at the Golf Channel, upon his arrival on Thursday: “As soon as I get off the plane in #Vegas,” he tweeted, “a guy drops to his knee at baggage claim and proposes. She cries. A crowd cheers. So romantic????”…

The largest Faberge egg collection outside Russia is on exhibit at Bellagio’s Gallery of Fine Art through May 25. “Faberge Revealed” will feature 238 pieces of extraordinary craftsmanship. The showcase is a partnership with the Virginia Museum of Fine Art.

SIGHTINGS

Actor and TV host Mario Lopez, in town to run in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon, dined at Lavo Italian Restaurant (Palazzo) with friends on Saturday. … Actress Malin Akerman, backstage with the “KA” cast and crew on Friday after seeing the show at the MGM Grand.

THE PUNCH LINE

“At the economic summit in China, Vladimir Putin is being accused of flirting with the first lady of China. Then again, Putin does have a history of not respecting boundaries.” — Conan O’Brien

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Reach him at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more at normclarke.com. Follow @Norm_Clarke on Twitter.