Bill Cosby is seeking the dismissal of a defamation lawsuit brought against him by three women who’ve accused him of sexual misconduct, according to court papers obtained by TheWrap.
Cosby filed a memo in support of his motion to dismiss the suit in federal court in Massachusetts on Friday.
The suit against him was originally filed in December by accuser Tamara Green, who claims that Cosby assaulted her in the early ’70s. Fellow accusers Therese Serignese and Linda Traitz joined the lawsuit in January. The suit argues Cosby defamed the plaintiffs by denying their claims through his representatives, including the comedian’s lawyer, Martin Singer.
“Mr. Cosby denies each and every one of the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled at him by Plaintiffs Green, Serignese and Traitz,” the memo filed Friday reads.
“Plaintiffs have no cause for action,” the memo adds. “The law does not require that one stands idly by while he is publicly attacked. Instead, the law entitles an individual who is accused of serious wrongdoing to rebut the allegations without facing defamation claims. Statements made in self-defense are privileged, and cannot form the basis of a defamation action.”
The papers filed Friday take particular aim at Traitz, who according to the motion bears a “extensive criminal record for fraudulent and other felonious acts.”
“Plaintiff Traitz’s claims fail because, even on a motion to dismiss, the Court may consider Ms. Traitz’s extensive criminal record for fraudulent and other felonious acts, which was referenced in the statement from which her defamation claim arises, and conclude that any statements concerning Ms. Traitz were substantially true and could have caused no incremental harm to her reputation,” the memo reads.
The accusers’ lawsuit stems from a statement published by Newsweek published on Feb. 7, 2014; another published by the Washington Post on Nov. 22, 2014, and a pair of statements issued by Cosby’s attorney, Martin Singer, on Nov. 20 and 21.
Green’s claim, which is based on the Washington Post statement, should be dropped due to the statute of limitations, the papers say, since the statement from Cosby attorney Walter M. Phillips was actually made in 2005, when Green’s allegations first surfaced.
The claims should also be dropped, Cosby’s team argues, because the statements are either constitutionally protected opinion or, in the case of Singer’s Nov. 20 statement regarding Traitz, non-defamatory statements of fact.
The papers filed on Friday also say that the trio of accusers have “failed to plausibly plead constitutionally required fault.”
“Although the Complaint is filed against Mr. Cosby, it is his publicist and his attorneys who are alleged to have made the relevant statements,” the papers read.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.