One day after seeing the defamation case by Janice Dickinson get a judge’s order to go forward, Bill Cosby today saw another California judge give him a victory in the civil case brought by Judy Huth, who alleges the actor assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion in 1974, when she was 15 years old. Cosby’s scheduled April 7 deposition in the case was put on ice for now.
Concurring with a motion by Cosby’s Christopher Tayback-led legal team, L.A. Superior Court Judge Craig Kaplan on Wednesday stayed this second deposition in the matter while the criminal case against the actor moves forward in Pennsylvania. The argument, accepted by Kaplan, was that if forced to answer questions under oath from Huth’s attorney Gloria Allred, Cosby might tap out and plead not wanting to self-incriminate. While Allred says she will depose Playboy founder Hugh Hefner in the matter, Kaplan put future depositions of Huth also have been put on hold for the time being.
And, with the trio of felony second-degree aggravated indecent assault charges stemming from an alleged 2004 drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand also on hold, the time being might be quite awhile.
On March 1, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania temporarily stayed lower court proceedings on the criminal charges case pending a verdict on the local D.A.’s motion to halt Cosby’s appeal in the matter. With briefings to come and certainly more legal procedures and bickering, the PA case, which could see Cosby behind bars for up to 10 years, will be tied up in the courts for months. The actor remains free on $1 million bail.
In the West Coast civil case, Huth claims Cosby attacked her at an event at Hefner’s L.A. home 42 years ago when she was a teen. Although the state’s statute of limitations has passed on Huth’s claims, she was still able to file her case because she was a minor at the time of the alleged assault. Pushing back legally to the very end, Cosby sat for a more than seven-hour first deposition in the Huth case on October 9. The actor’s lawyers also tried to derail a second deposition before but were rebuked by the judge late last month.
“The court recognized the dilemma faced by a defendant who must choose between defending civil litigation by providing testimony on one hand and losing the case by asserting the constitutional right to remain silent on the other hand, and rightly issued an order eliminating the necessity of such an untenable choice,” said Cosby’s legal team today after Kaplan’s ruling.
Waving the implications of the Pennsylvania case, Cosby has employed similar tactics in other cases brought by some of the more than 50 women who have claimed to be drugged and/or assaulted by him over the decades. Today at the Santa Monica Courthouse was his most significant victory of that method so far.