LOS ANGELES – A state appeals court panel today put on hold a planned deposition of Bill Cosby and his former attorney in connection with a defamation lawsuit filed against the comedian by ex-model Janice Dickinson, one of dozens of women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault. Cosby’s deposition had been scheduled for Nov. 23 in Boston, according to Dickinson’s attorney, Lisa Bloom. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Debre Katz Weintraub ruled Nov. 2 that Cosby and lawyer Martin Singer must appear for a deposition before Nov. 25. Dickinson’s suit alleges Cosby drugged and raped her in 1982 and later defamed her by calling her a liar in the media last year.
She’s among dozens of women who have come forward to accuse the 78-year-old Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them. Cosby has never been charged with a crime and has denied any wrongdoing. Cosby’s lawyer quickly appealed Katz’s decision, prompting an appeals panel to issue a stay on the ruling, blocking the planned depositions until it can hear arguments on the issue. Dickinson sued Cosby in May, claiming she has been re-victimized and her reputation has suffered because of denials by Cosby’s attorney that the comedian drugged and raped her in a Lake Tahoe hotel room more than 30 years ago.
The suit detailed Dickinson’s allegations that Cosby raped her after giving her wine and a pill in the hotel room, and how she wanted to go public with her story in a 2002 autobiography but was prevented from doing so by the book’s publisher. Cosby’s lawyers are attempting to throw out the case and Dickinson’s lawyers argued they needed sworn testimony from the comedian and Singer to properly oppose their efforts. Dickinson’s complaint alleges defamation, false light invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and seeks unspecified damages. Cosby fired Singer last month.
The statute of limitations for a criminal case has expired, but Dickinson maintains she was defamed when Cosby’s representatives accused her of making up the story in two November 2014 statements to the media responding to her accusations. But in their court papers arguing for dismissal of the lawsuit, Cosby’s attorneys maintain that the statements which Dickinson alleges were defamatory were “pre-litigation” documents written in connection with a judicial proceeding and are therefore protected activity under the First Amendment. They also address matters of public interest, according to the Cosby lawyers’ court papers.