Judge rejects Bill Cosby’s bid to have libel lawsuit dismiss

Massachusetts federal judge rejects bid by Bill Cosby to have libel lawsuit brought by three women connected to sexual abuse accusations dismissed

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Actor Bill Cosby speaks at the National Action Network's 20th annual Keepers of the Dream Awards gala in New York in April 6, 2011

Bill Cosby was expected to testify under oath on Friday in a lawsuit brought by a woman accusing the veteran comedian of sexual abuse, according to attorneys, but little was known about when or where the deposition would take place.

Attorney Gloria Allred, representing accuser Judy Huth, told Reuters on Thursday the deposition could last up to seven hours. She said she had not yet decided whether to make any statement afterward.

Allred, who did not return request for comment on Friday, had previously indicated the deposition could take place in Massachusetts, where Cosby lives.

Cosby's spokesman Andrew Wyatt told Reuters he could neither confirm nor deny whether the deposition was taking place today.

Also on Friday, federal court Judge Mark Mastroianni in Massachusetts refused to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by three women against Cosby.

Tamara Green, Therese Serignese and Linda Traitz said Cosby had defamed them when they went public with their allegations of sexual assault, and sued the comedian. Cosby's lawyers had asked the judge in February to dismiss the suit.

In the past year, more than 50 women have come forward with allegations against Cosby including drugging, sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape.

The deposition marks the first time Cosby has been directed to testify under oath in response to sexual misconduct complaints since a deposition he gave in a Pennsylvania case he settled out of court nine years ago.

Depositions generally occur away from courthouses, with no need for a presiding judge, said spokeswoman Mary Hearn of the Los Angeles Superior Court, where the case is being heard.

"If arrangements have been made for him to appear at a courthouse today, we have no knowledge of it," she said.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Karlan said on Thursday he would seal Cosby's deposition at least until December, at which point he will decide which parts could be made public after reviewing the transcript, according to Allred.

Most of the allegations of sexual abuse against Cosby date back decades and therefore fall outside the statute of limitations for legal action.

According to Allred, however, Huth's case cites repressed psychological injuries that she claims were only discovered in the last three years, which would allow legal action under the statute of limitations.

The support group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said members planned to hand out informational pamphlets outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles on Friday to push for legal justice in sexual abuse cases.