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Bill Cosby Accusers Seek Dismissal of Defamation Claims

Seven women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault say that their statements “are substantially true” and are asking a federal court  to dismiss his legal claims that they defamed him.

Accusers Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis and Angela Leslie were named in a countersuit that Cosby filed last month. The also cited a series of other defenses in a filing in federal court in Massachusetts, including that his defamation claims are barred by the statute of limitations and that Cosby was “libel-proof” at the time of the alleged defamation. They also say that their statements “are protected by the good motive and fair comment privilege.”

Green filed suit against Cosby in 2014 and was later joined in her litigation by the six other women. Their claims include defamation, tied to Cosby’s denial of their accusations of sexual assault.

In Cosby’s counterclaim, his attorneys contended that the women tarnished his “honorable legacy and reputation” by “willfully, maliciously and falsely accusing Mr. Cosby of multi-decade-old purported sexual misconduct.” They said that their accusations cost Cosby deals with Netflix and NBC.

But the women claim that the statements “cause no incremental harm” and were not “a substantial cause of the alleged damages.” They are seeking dismissal of Cosby’s counterclaims, and argue that his effort to obtain an injunction would violate the First Amendment.

Last week, Bill Cosby was charged with aggravated indecent assault in a case involving Andrea Constand in 2004, when she was director of operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team. Cosby’s attorneys called the criminal case “unjustified” and said that their client would be exonerated.

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office announced that they would not file criminal charges against Cosby in an investigation of sexual assault allegations from 1965 and another from 2008. The D.A. cited the statute of limitations and lack of sufficient evidence.

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