×

Judge Grants Bill Cosby Accusers Access to Andrea Constand’s Case File

A judge says that attorneys for seven women who are suing Bill Cosby for defamation should get some access to the case file of the lawyer for Andrea Constand, even though she settled in a confidential agreement with the entertainer in 2006.

U.S. District Judge Anita Brody wrote that “an agreement between two parties to keep materials confidential cannot block the disclosure of those materials to third parties in discovery.”

The seven women — Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis and Angela Leslie — have accused Cosby of sexual assault in a defamation lawsuit filed in Massachusetts in 2014.

As part of discovery for their litigation, they subpoenaed the case file for Dolores Troiani, the attorney who represented Constand, a Temple University employee who sued Cosby in 2005, alleging sexual assault and other claims. The next year, Constand reached a confidential settlement agreement with Cosby.

The seven women are seeking the file as they gather evidence to try to prove that their accusations are true. Cosby’s attorneys have made a defamation counter-claim, contending that the women’s accusations tarnished his “honorable legacy and reputation” by “willfully, maliciously and falsely accusing Mr. Cosby of multi-decade-old purported sexual misconduct.”

Troiani did not object to the subpoena.

But Cosby’s attorneys sought to quash it, arguing that there was no “compelling justification” requiring disclosure of “these confidential materials.” They also argued that not everything in the case file was relevant to the plaintiff’s action, and that production of the file would “subject a person to undue burden.”

Brody, however, noted that the seven women suing Cosby “never agreed to the confidentiality of these materials.”

“The public reaps no benefit by allowing settlement agreements to suppress evidence,” she wrote.

Brody limited the release of the case file to materials pertaining to the seven women plaintiffs and other witnesses. She granted Cosby’s motion to prevent the release of “any other subject matter.”

Cosby also is facing criminal charges stemming from the Constand case, after a Pennsylvania prosecutor filed charges in December. A preliminary hearing has been put on hold as Cosby’s attorneys pursue an appeal to have the case dismissed.

Brody rejected his attorneys’ argument that disclosure of the case file would “assist the prosecution and impair his ability to get an impartial jury” in the criminal case because the Montgomery County, Pa., district attorney already has a copy of the file.

She did grant American Media Inc.’s motion to redact information in the case file that pertains to a settlement amount that the National Enquirer paid to Constand. The Enquirer was also named in Constand’s civil litigation over a story published at the time.

Brody also granted Cosby’s motion to quash the subpoena to disclose the confidential settlement agreement itself.

The judge said she would appoint a special master to review the materials.

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial and Verdict

    European Industry Buoyed by Weinstein Verdict: 'Things Have Irrevocably Changed'

    Global film and TV executives, including “Elizabeth” producer Alison Owen and “Shakespeare in Love” producer David Parfitt, have spoken out about Harvey Weinstein’s guilty verdict, calling it a “seismic” victory that will bring about immutable change. Monday’s long-awaited outcome to the U.S. trial, which saw Weinstein convicted of sexual assault and third-degree rape, has been [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Alternate Juror: 'Justice Does Work'

    John Deysher served as an alternate juror on Harvey Weinstein’s trial. He sat through six weeks of arguments and testimony in Manhattan Supreme Court. Had any of the jurors been excused, he would have been called on to deliberate. But in the end, Deysher remained a bystander. On Monday, the jury convicted Weinstein of first-degree [...]

  • Bob Iger and Bob Chapek Disney

    Bob Chapek to Succeed Bob Iger as Disney CEO

    Bob Chapek, a 27-year Disney veteran who heads the company’s parks division, has been named CEO of Disney, succeeding Bob Iger. The timing of the news and the selection of Chapek came as a big surprise on Tuesday afternoon to many in the entertainment industry. Iger will continue as Disney chairman through the end of [...]

  • Miriam Haley and Tarale Wulff

    Women Who Testified in Harvey Weinstein Trial Slam His Lawyers for 'Victim Blaming' 

    Six women testified during the Harvey Weinstein rape trial, and now that the former movie mogul was found guilty of two felony charges, those women are speaking out with newfound freedom. Miriam Haley, who was assaulted by Weinstein in 2006, resulting in him being convicted of a criminal sex act (which carries a maximum sentence [...]

  • APA Logo

    APA Promotes Five Employees to Partner

    APA has upped four agents and one executive to partner across four departments. Jeff Witjas in talent, Sheryl Petersen and Mike Goldberg in scripted literary, Steve Fisher in intellectual property and Julia Johnson in business affairs & legal will all be joining the partner suite. “I’m very proud to have these five extraordinary individuals join [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content