UPDATED, 5:03 PM: The strategy of Bill Cosby’s new lawyers is becoming clear: attack the accusers. With dozens and dozens of women alleging that the comedian sexually assaulted or drugged them over the decades, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan today went after Beverly Johnson for defamation. This comes less than a week after Cosby’s team did the same thing to seven women in federal court in Massachusetts.
Today’s filing against model and actress Johnson in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here) seeks punitive damages and an injunction preventing her from “continuing to publish her defamatory statements.” Johnson said, initially in a Vanity Fair article and in subsequent interviews, that Cosby drugged her with spiked cappucino at his New York home during the 1980s. It claims she “is no stranger to making salacious allegations even before her false allegations about Mr.Cosby. She previously made allegations of abuse against two of her boyfriends, neither of which resulted in charges or any finding of liability.” It adds that Johnson “has repeated her lies about Mr. Cosby drugging her to every media publication, newspaper, magazine or TV show that will hear her,” including The View, Dr. Phil and Good Morning America.
PREVIOUSLY, December 14: The once-beloved comedian today says that Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis, and Angela Leslie cost him his comeback. In a court documents Monday, the widely accused Bill Cosby asserts he “neither drugged nor sexually assaulted” the seven women. In fact, Cosby now is suing them back in federal court in Massachusetts for a wide range of damages and injunctions — including publicly “retracting and correcting” their accusations of sexual assault. And he is convinced it was their words and actions that cost him high-profile gigs on NBC and Netflix.
“Each Counterclaim Defendant induced both NBC and Netflix to postpone or cancel their contracts with Mr. Cosby by engaging in a campaign to assassinate Mr. Cosby’s reputation and character by willfully, maliciously, and falsely accusing Mr. Cosby of multi-decade-old purported sexual misconduct in an opportunistic attempt to extract financial gain from their allegations,” states the counterclaim filing today from Cosby (read it here), who is scheduled to give depositions in the case soon.
A week before it was set to premiere, Netflix pulled the plugged on an already filmed special with Cosby on November 18, 2014, as the allegations of rape, drugging and more began to rise and rise. The next day, on November 19, NBC, the former home of The Cosby Show, hit halt on a proposed family sitcom with Cosby. Just days later, Cosby’s now-former lawyer Marty Singer called the then-recent accusations from the women in this case “the latest example of people coming out of the woodwork with unsubstantiated or fabricated stories about my client.” Such statements became the basis of the defamation case going on now in New England.
A case that today Cosby not only denied but flipped around to be about him.
“Counterclaim Defendants’ false statements were defamatory because they held Mr. Cosby up to hatred, distrust, contempt, disgrace, scorn, and ridicule among considerable and respectable segments of the community, including from the media coverage and public reaction to Counterclaim Defendants’ false and defamatory statements,” the 89-page filing adds. Of course, the part of the risk that Cosby is taking here is he may be required to testify in this case and could find himself answering some very tough questions and accusations under oath.
“If anyone is surprised by Cosby’s actions today, they shouldn’t be,” said the accusers’ lawyer Joseph Cammarata Monday “He’s taken a page out of the defense attorney’s playbook in an effort to shift the focus of this legitimate inquiry. It is curious that he has filed a claim only against these seven women, when there are scores of other women who have made similar allegations of sexual abuse and assault against Mr. Cosby. My clients remain resolute in their desire to have their day in court, sooner rather than later, and they each expect that their good name and reputation will be restored.”
Today also saw Cosby stripped of yet another honorary degree, this time from Boston University. With more than 50 women now accusing Cosby of sexual assault, the school said his alleged actions “demonstrates that his character fails to reflect the integrity and virtues that the university values and esteems.”
This comes as Cosby battles to stop already ordered depositions by himself and Singer in a defamation case by Janice Dickinson. The former America’s Next Top Model judge alleges that Cosby raped her in 1982 and that Singer branded her a “liar” last year when she brought the incident up. Dickinson took the matter to court in May, and in the fall she filed an amended complaint now formally naming Singer a defendant. “Having been unsuccessful in his attempt to get the Massachusetts accusers’ claims thrown out, Bill Cosby’s next aggressive legal move is to countersue them,” noted Dickinson’s attorney Lisa Bloom today. “At least this ensures that the accusers will get the day in court they have been seeking.”
As the LosAngeles D.A. continues to review a LAPD investigation of claims that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted then-18-year-old model Chloe Goins at a party at the Playboy Mansion in 2008, another potentially damning deposition could become public soon. The comic gave several sworn hours of testimony in October in Boston in the civil case of Judy Huth, who claims Cosby molested her at the Playboy Mansion in 1974 when she was 15. Like the explosive and now-unsealed 2005 deposition in the Andrea Constand case, where Cosby admitted to having prescriptions for Quaaludes in the 1970s and that he intended to give those pills to women he wanted to have sex with, the Huth deposition could become public next week. That’s all a matter of if the judge in the once-Singer-conducted case deems that material private or not.
In the case that saw the countersuit today and seeks a wide ranging confidentiality agreement and protective order, Cosby is represented by a legion of lawyers from L.A. firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP and Springfield MA’s Egan, Flanagan & Cohen, PC.