A federal judge in Pennsylvania sided with comedian and granted Cosby’s motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit, according to court records.
Renita Hill, one of the more than 50 women who have publicly accused Cosby of assault, filed the civil suit in October alleging that the actor and his lawyer defamed Hill in the media, court records show.
Judge Arthur J. Schwab dismissed the three claims against Cosby, ruling that the statements “do not support a claim for defamation as defined by Pennsylvania law,” according to the ruling.
Hill’s claims of defamation cite three instances in which Cosby and his team said the accusers needed to be fact-checked.
In November 2014, following Hill’s public accusation of rape, Cosby and his lawyer told The Washington Post that the women coming forward had “unsubstantiated, fantastical stories.”
Camille Cosby wrote a letter to The Washington Post claiming that news organizations failed to “vet” her husband’s accusers.
In the ruling, Schwab found no grounds for defamation, writing that the multiple claims were “pure opinion” and a “far cry from labeling [Hill] (and the other women who have made similar public assertions) as liars or extortionists.”
“None of the facts alleged by [Hill] supported her claims for defamation, false light, or intentional infliction of emotional distress under Pennsylvania law,” Cosby’s lawyers said in a statement after the ruling. “It is our hope that courts in other jurisdictions with similar matters will respond in like manner.”
Hill’s lawyer said the decision will be appealed.
“We are disappointed, but remain committed to seeking justice in this matter. We strongly disagree with the judge’s reasoning that Cosby’s statements are constitutionally protected opinions,” George Kontos, Renita Hill’s lawyer, told CNN.
A Plan to take Cosby out
Cosby is in the middle of a litany of lawsuits, ranging from defamation to sexual assault, with several women who have publicly accused the actor of drugging and sexual assault.
In December, a Pennsylvania district attorney charged the comedian with “aggravated indecent assault” for the 2004 alleged sexual attack on Andrea Constand.
I expect now that all of those things will get ferreted out in a court of law and I have faith in the justice system,” she told “Good Morning America,” adding that the original case from 2005 between Cosby and Constand was eventually settled out of court. The DA for Montgomery County at the time chose not to press criminal charges.
Pressley said the decision not to charge Cosby back in 2005 was the very reason that “led my client into a civil process where he testified because he believed that there was no thought whatsoever, no possibility, of him being charged criminally.”
The comedian’s reps also touched on the 2005 deposition that surfaced this past summer after U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno unsealed the document. Cosby admitted to giving Quaaludes to a woman with whom he wanted to have sex, according to the paperwork.
Pressley couldn’t give specifics about Cosby’s defense strategy or discuss the deposition. She did say that “your network, and every other network in America right now, has that deposition so you know that those two things don’t go together and that he was very specific about what he said about this particular case and that he did admit to having available to him, 40 years earlier, the drug Quaaludes, which was at the time a legal drug, and that he offered to two women who took it consensually, did not sneak and give it to them, did not hide it and use it intentionally in order to incapacitate them. So the two issues have nothing to do with each other and our defense where this case is concerned will be clear.”
Cosby has always maintained his innocence since being accused by Constand and dozens of other women of sexual assault.