Three weeks after handing Bill Cosby a win of sorts, an L.A. Superior Court judge today delivered a rebuff to the much-accused actor. The Cosby Show’s star’s desire to shut down part of Janice Dickinson’s defamation lawsuit against him will have to fight on another day.
“The court is requesting the parties to submit further briefing,” said Judge Debre Weintraub Monday morning in a measured ruling on the anti-SLAPP motion that the actor’s lawyers have moved for in Dickinson’s nearly year-long case against him. At the heart of the defamation case are the press releases made by Cosby’s now former attorney Marty Singer in late November 2014 branding Dickinson a “liar.” After being added to case as a defendant in an amended complaint, the Hollywood heavyweight lawyer was removed from the matter on February 9. The remaining parties are now all expected back in the judge’s courtroom on March 29.
The very busy Christopher Tayback and other lawyers for Cosby as well as attorneys for Dickinson, and the former America’s Next Top Model judge herself, were back in the downtown courtroom today in another attempt by the actor to thwart Dickinson’s civil suit against him stemming for an alleged 1982 drugging and sexual assault of her. Dickinson’s lawyer Lisa Bloom told Deadline after the brief hearing that “we’re happy to provide further evidence in the case.” She added, with her client mere feet away, “All Janice Dickinson wants is her day in court against Bill Cosby.”
The free speech and anti-SLAPP motion made late last year brought a stay in the case that Dickinson’s main lawyer Bloom soon challenged and had lifted by the judge. Additionally, a November 2 Judge Weintraub-ordered deposition of Cosby and Singer was put on hold by the Appeals Court and the matter was shifted by to the lower court until the anti-SLAPP motion is determined.
Today’s kick-it-down-the-road hearing comes just over a week before Cosby’s March 8 preliminary hearing in Pennsylvania in a criminal case that could see him behind bars for up to ten years. The charges stem from an alleged 2004 drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand by Cosby in his mansion just outside Philadelphia. While the then-D.A. declined to press charges, the matter did move to a civil case that was resolved in 2006 with a confidential settlement.
The trio of felony counts of second-degree aggravated indecent assault were made late last year by current Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele to get in under the wire of the Keystone State’s 12-year statute of limitations. Cosby was arraigned and released on bail of $1 million December 30 without entering a plea. As well as fighting the charges, Cosby went after Constand, her mother, her lawyers and the owners of the National Enquirer to get the settlement money plus more back.
On February 1, just before a hearing on the whether the Pennsylvania criminal case would go forward or not, the actor filed an under seal jury-seeking-complaint against Constand and others claiming that there had been numerous “breaches of the 2006 Confidential Settlement Agreement.” Both Constand and her attorneys Dolores Troiani and Bebe Kivitz have pushed back against what the former Temple University employee has called Cosby’s “bullying tactics.”
That matter, like the Dickinson suit and many more across the nation, remains before the courts. Cosby has been accused by over 50 women of drugging and sexually assaulting them in situations very similar to what both Dickinson and Constand have claimed.
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