Depositions have not been kind to Bill Cosby this past year, and the much-accused comedian is throwing a lot of legal weight at getting out of having to give another one. In a filing made Monday by his attorneys to the California Court of Appeals, Cosby wants the depositions ordered by an L.A. Superior Court judge on November 2 in Janice Dickinson’s defamation case put on long-term hold – partially because he says his former lawyer Marty Singer didn’t say anything to defame the former America’s Next Top Model judge, who claims that Cosby raped her.
“The undeniable fact is that Plaintiff s public statements in her autobiography flat-out contradict her more recent public statements,” says the reply filing of November 30 (read it here), noting that Dickinson did not mention the alleged 1982 rape in her 2002 book. In more recent statements and in her lawsuit of May of this year, the former supermodel says she was pressured by publisher HarperCollins to omit the incident for fear of being sued. Having once brought up the assault on The Howard Stern Show in 2006, Dickinson went public again last year as dozens of women began to make claims of similar harrowing occurrences with The Cosby Show actor. “Defendant’s then counsel disclosed those inconsistent facts and thus the conclusion he draws from Plaintiff s contradicting herself is not actionable defamation,” adds this week’s filing by Cosby’s lawyers, noting two sets of statements by his former attorney Marty Singer late in November 2014, one of which called Dickinson a “liar.”
Following an order by Judge Debra Weintraub earlier last month, Cosby and Singer, who is now a defendant in Dickinson’s case over 7-month old case, were scheduled to sit for depositions on November 19 and November 23. The 2nd District Court of Appeal hit pause on November 12 after Cosby filed a petition requesting a stay three days beforehand. The Appeals court stated that though there was a temporary halt in the matter, it wanted both sides to provide more information before granting a lifting of the stay. Dickinson’s lawyer Lisa Bloom submitted a filing on November 20 asking that the stay be lifted and the previously ordered depos be allowed to go forward.
That’s not part of Cosby’s legal team’s agenda.
“This Petition presents a straightforward question: whether the Superior Court abused its discretion by ordering discovery on the issue of actual malice before requiring full briefing and argument on the legal defenses asserted in Defendant’s special motion to strike,” says the 25-page reply in support of Cosby’s petition. Cosby’s Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan lawyers want a full briefing on their anti-SLAPP motion and other defenses before any lifting of any stay of discovery is even reconsidered. “Those courts and many others have made clear that lifting the automatic stay to permit discovery on the issue of malice before deciding legal defenses constitutes an abuse of discretion that jeopardizes the core protections of the SLAPP statute,” Christopher Tayback, Randa Osman and Justin Griffin argue.
Even as other possible new depositions in federal court in Worcester, Massachusetts, stopping or pushing back a deposition in this case could see fading memories of the last deposition of Cosby’s that was made public. Revelations this summer out of a once sealed 2005 deposition in another Cosby sexual assault case depicting for the first time a damning admission by the once beloved and long denying comedian that he had Quaaludes prescriptions in the 1970s that he intended to give to women he wanted to have sex with – a scenario many of over 50 women accusing Cosby have described as part of his M.O. It was in reaction partially to the deposition of that Andrea Constand case that Dickinson made her renewed accusations against the actor and to which Singer responded in statements just over a year ago.
And there is at least one other Cosby deposition sitting out there that could shine more of a spotlight on his actions. On October 9, Cosby was deposed for several hours in Boston in the Judy Huth case. The plaintiff alleges that the actor sexually assaulted her 41 years ago at the Playboy Mansion when she was 15 years old. The Huth deposition could become public in late December if the judge in that case decides to make it public.
In the Dickinson case, the Appeals Court is expected to make a determination on the matter at hand in the next few weeks.