Bill Cosby’s attorney contends that a woman and her attorney engaged in an extortion attempt before filing suit earlier this week, claiming that the entertainer molested her when she was 15 years old.
In a filing in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, Cosby’s attorney Martin Singer said that Judy Huth’s allegations of sexual assault in 1974 are “meritless and unsupported,” and that the lawsuit was filed after Cosby rejected her and her attorney’s demand for payment.
Singer’s claim is made in a notice of demurrer. He also is seeking sanctions against Huth and her attorney, Marc Strecker.
“Plaintiff Judy Huth filed a meritless and unsupported 40-year-old claim against Bill Cosby alleging decades-old sexual abuse immediately after Mr. Cosby rejected plaintiff’s outrageous demand for money in order not to make her allegations public,” Singer wrote in the filing. “Recognizing that they committed extortion and could face significant consequences for their conduct, plaintiff’s counsel Marc Strecker rushed to the courthouse to file this lawsuit on behalf of his client.”
Singer contends that Huth failed to file Certificates of Merit executed by her attorney as well as a licensed mental health practitioner “attesting to the meritorious nature of the allegations.” He also said that they violated California statute by naming Cosby as a defendant without first obtaining court permission. Cosby’s attorney contends that Huth is required to do so in a claim that is barred by the statute of limitations.
Huth, now 55, alleges in her lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles that Cosby assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion in 1974 after having met him on a movie set.
According to the suit, Huth and a friend (age 16 at the time) accepted Cosby’s invitation to meet him at a tennis club a week later, where he insisted that they consume alcoholic beverages every time he won a game of pool. He then allegedly took the girls to the Playboy Mansion, where Cosby “proceeded to sexually molest [Huth] by attempting to put his hand down her pants, then taking her hand in his hand and performing a sex act on himself without her consent.”
Huth is suing Cosby for “severe and extreme emotional distress” and is seeking punitive damages.
“Under California law, the only way that an alleged victim of childhood sexual abuse would be able to assert an otherwise time-barred claim is to allege that the psychological injury or illness had been repressed and was only discovered within the last three years,” Singer said in his motion. “Without providing any specific allegations, or the mandated certification from a mental health professional to support her claim, plaintiff alleges that she discovered her psychological injuries and illness ‘within the three years prior to the filing of the complaint.’ Conspicuously absent from her complaint, however, is the fact, confirmed by plaintiff’s counsel, that plaintiff unsuccessfully tried to sell her story to the tabloids nearly a decade ago.”
In his motion for sanctions, Singer wrote that there was no factual basis for the claim. “Through her lawyer, plaintiff made extortionate threats to Mr. Cosby (through his counsel) about criminal penalties, coupled with ever increasing demands for a six-figure payday to keep quiet about her long since expired claims.” Singer wrote the amount of her demands increased in amount from $100,000 to $250,000.
Strecker did not immediately return a request for comment.
More than a dozen women have accused Cosby of sexual assault, and many of the allegations are for incidents that occurred a decade or more ago.
On Thursday, speaking to reporters, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said that the department would investigate accusations brought to them, but he said that so far none have. He indicated that they would conduct an investigation regardless of whether the incidents occurred beyond the statute of limitations.
“We don’t turn people away because things are out of statute,” the chief said, according to City News Service. “You come to us, especially with a sexual allegation, we will work with you.”