Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Cosby Sees Criminal Threat From Civil Case

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (CN) - As he heads to trial in Pennsylvania on aggravated indecent assault charges, Bill Cosby asked a federal judge in Massachusetts to stay the civil defamation suit against him there.

In a motion Tuesday, the embattled comedian contends that continued civil proceedings could implicate his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Ironically the charge against Cosby in Pennsylvania directly followed the exposure of an incriminating deposition Cosby gave during a 2005 civil suit with the most successful of his accusers, Andrea Constand.

Dozens of women have come forward in the last 14 months accusing Cosby of drugging and raping them - with claims dating back as far as the 1960s - but Constand alone is responsible for the 78-year-old's arrest.

A decade before this outcome, Constand also reached a civil settlement with Cosby and with the Cosby's attorney and the National Enquirer for supposedly painting her as an extortionist.

Bolstering his motion for a stay in Massachusetts, Cosby says his accusers here, led by Tamara Green, are in no position to complain about delays given the length of time they waited to accuse him assault.

"The marginal additional delay of a stay of this case will no more prejudice plaintiffs than the intervening decades that have passed since the underlying acts of sexual assault allegedly occurred," his filing states. "Moreover, any interest plaintiffs may have in the expeditious resolution of their case is trumped by defendant's significant Fifth Amendment concerns."

Green and the other plaintiffs behind the 2014 federal defamation suit against Cosby in Massachusetts say the comedian defamed them by calling their stories "fantastical" in a statement through his attorney.

The case has already implicated statements Cosby gave about Constand over a decade ago that prompted her to file and settle civil defamation claims.

Cosby says a pattern has evolved of his accusers cornering him with statements he thought he made in a protected context.

"Mr. Cosby's civil testimony from 2005 and 2006 - provided in reliance on a non-prosecution agreement and without invocation of his Constitutional rights against self-incrimination - is currently being used in the criminal case against him," the comedian's filing states. "There can therefore be little doubt that defendant faces a very substantial risk of further self-incrimination if he chooses to testify and defend against the civil charges in this case, or conversely, that adverse inferences may be drawn if he chooses instead to invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege."

Having failed to get the criminal case against him in Pennsylvania dismissed, Cosby faces a pretrial hearing there on March 8.

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.