A federal judge tossed out a defamation suit against comedian Bill Cosby Thursday.
Renita Hill, one of the over 50 women who’ve accused Cosby of sexual assault, had sued him in October for things he’d said in the media, but Judge Arthur J. Schwab threw out the claims, saying those statements weren’t defamation under Pennsylvania law.
The suit covered three times when Cosby scorned the women in the media. For example, in Nov. 2014, Bill Cosby and Martin Singer, his ex-attorney and co-defendant, said the women’s allegations were “unsubstantial, fantastical stories.” In another instance, he called the accusations “innuendo.”
Even Cosby’s wife, Camille Cosby, was a co-defendant for blasting news organizations in a letter to the Washington Post, writing the media should’ve vetted the women.
Altogether, Hill said the comments were bunk, effectively calling her a “liar and extortionist.” She alleges that Bill Cosby had drugged and molested her for four years after they worked together on a 1983 TV show. She was 16 when the reported abuse started.
But Judge Schwab tossed the suit “without prejudice,” meaning Hill can’t re-file it even if she amended it for mistakes. Still, Hill’s attorney, George Kontos, plans to appeal the decision.
“The basis of [Judge Schwab’s] decision is these are constitutional protected, ‘pure’ options,” Kontos sad. “But looked at as a whole, they contain all sorts of innuendo and undisclosed facts.”
Even if that appeal goes nowhere, Cosby has other cases to face. There’s another federal defamation suit brought by several women in Massachusetts. And you probably know about the criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors say Cosby committed aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand. If convicted there, he’d face 10 years in prison.
[h/t USA TODAY]