LAS VEGAS (CN) — An attorney has accused actor Bill Cosby of using a Massachusetts civil suit to depose two potential prosecution witnesses and evade limited discovery in a Pennsylvania criminal case.
Rebecca Cooper Neal and Lise Lotte Lublin have been named as potential witnesses in a Pennsylvania criminal case in which a woman accused Cosby of sexually assaulting her in 2004.
In a separate Massachusetts civil case, plaintiff Tamara Green accused Cosby of defamation for publicly denying her sexual assault allegations against him.
Although Neal and Lublin are not parties or witnesses to that case, their attorney M. Lani Esteban-Trinidad says Cosby filed deposition subpoena requests for them to get around the more restrictive criminal discovery in the Pennsylvania sexual assault prosecution.
"Cosby only pursued the depositions of those two non-parties (sic) Nevada residents after they were both named as potential prosecution witnesses in a criminal case (sexual assault) pending against Cosby in Pennsylvania," Esteban-Trinidad claims in her motion to stay, filed in federal court last week.
She adds, "Cosby is using this civil action as a platform to circumvent limits on discovery in the Pennsylvania criminal matter" and "may also use this action as a platform to take other depositions to assist him in his criminal defense and to evade the limited discovery available in criminal matters."
Cosby also faces a civil suit in California, in which plaintiff Judy Huth accuses him of molesting her during a party at the Playboy Mansion 40 years ago when she was 15.
According to Estaban-Trinidad's motion, Huth "took the unusual step of moving the Los Angeles Superior Court to stay discovery in her own case ... because of Cosby's aggressive pursuit of the deposition of a woman named Margie Shapiro," who has also been named as a possible prosecution witness in the Pennsylvania case.
Estaban-Trinidad says Huth's attorney "filed a motion for a stay to prevent Cosby from using that action as a platform for criminal discovery."
The attorney says Cosby's subpoena requests are causing her clients "undue hardship."
According to the motion to stay, Neal is busy working third-shift and has a "tight daily routine" that includes caring for her disabled husband and elderly mother.
Lublin is an educator with 240 students who would face challenges giving a deposition during the regular work week, Esteban-Trinidad says.
Esteban-Trinidad argues that Pennsylvania law recognizes "that no party has the 'right to use civil discovery as a pretext for gathering information useful for the criminal cases'" and "the appropriate way to prevent such abuse is through a stay of discovery."
Because Esteban-Trinidad believes Cosby may use the Massachusetts civil case to depose other potential witnesses in the Pennsylvania criminal action, she has called for "a stay of all discovery ... in the interests of justice."
Esteban-Trinidad is an attorney for the Las Vegas-based Thater Law Group and was not available for comment by phone on Sunday evening.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.