Entertainment

Cosby Seeks New Legal Order in Defamation Suit

Attorneys for entertainer Bill Cosby are expected Friday in a Massachusetts court to push a judge to stop seven plaintiffs from thwarting his right to obtain information needed to defend himself in a lawsuit related to accusations of sexual assault.

Attorneys Angela Agrusa and Delilah Vinzon of Liner LLP said the civil defamation suit against the comedian was filed after Cosby’s attorneys spoke in his defense when the women plaintiffs branded him a rapist for unreported and unwitnessed conduct alleged to have occurred almost a half-century ago.

“Today, these accusers continue to try to silence Mr. Cosby’s defense by forcing him to argue for his right to information — something to which every defendant in civil litigation is entitled,” the attorneys said in a news release Friday. “The position of the plaintiffs and their attorneys begs the question: What are the plaintiffs hiding?”

Since August, Cosby’s team contends that the plaintiffs have refused to turn over the statements of 13 witnesses that are in their attorney’s possession.

The star’s lawyers argue that the law requires that they must turn over evidence relevant to their claims.

The plaintiffs are also trying to prevent the court reporting company that transcribed and ultimately improperly released Cosby’s 2005 deposition transcript from turning over its files, the attorneys argue.

Although the plaintiffs have conceded their intent to use Cosby’s deposition in their case, they are thwarting the comedian’s right to learn the facts surrounding the release of that deposition, including whether any of the plaintiffs or their counsel played a role in its release, his team argued.

The plaintiffs also seek to prevent Cosby from taking the deposition of two accusers whom the plaintiffs identify as their witnesses and also happen to be clients of attorney Gloria Allred, his attorneys said.

Allred has presented the two accusers to the district attorney in Pennsylvania to testify against Cosby in his upcoming criminal trial, the lawyers said.

A judge has already ruled that Cosby can depose witnesses who are specifically relevant to this case. In addition to seeking to block Cosby from obtaining discovery that may aid his defense, plaintiffs also refuse to provide him with protections against the disclosure of confidential information to the public at large, the star’s attorneys said.

Cosby plans Friday to ask the court to restrict from public release only the financial terms of his prior performance and entertainment business contracts.

The iconic actor and comedian is one of the most highly acclaimed and influential entertainers in history and his lawyers said his livelihood has depended on those business contracts.

“The public release of such highly confidential information would be prejudicial to his future business negotiations,” they said.

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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