MANHATTAN (CN) – New York magazine says it will vigorously fend off a subpoena it received from Bill Cosby over its profile on dozens of women accusing the embattled comedian of sexual assault.
Cosby’s attorneys at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan created the stir last week but have not returned a request for comment and have not fleshed out the electronically filed federal court records.
“It appears that Cosby’s lawyers are looking for materials related to our July 2015 cover story on Cosby’s accusers,” New York magazine spokeswoman Lauren Starke said in an email.
Titled “‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen,” that July 27 article by Noreen Malone featured portraits and first-person quotes from 35 women who have accused Cosby of assault.
The testimonials span decades of alleged encounters with Cosby, detailing assaults as well as the manipulation and suppression of the victims after the assaults.
An online version of the piece includes extended video and audio clips with several of the accusers.
One Cosby accuser, Tamara Green, is quoted in the article as discussing how social media has helped spread stories like hers. “In 2005, Bill Cosby still had control of the media,” Green told New York. “In 2015, we have social media. We can’t be disappeared. It’s online and can never go away.”
Green is a plaintiff in a federal defamation case against Cosby in Massachusetts, claiming the comedian who drugged and assaulted her in the 1970s “publicly branded” her a liar in more recent years when she came forward along with dozens of other women with similar stories.
Cosby is countersuing Green and the six other accusers in Massachusetts, saying their false accusations cost him work. With the lone criminal case against Cosby heating up in Pennsylvania, Cosby moved last month to stay proceedings in his Massachusetts case.
The docket of his March 10 motion in New York nevertheless indicates that the materials are for the seven women suing him in Massachusetts.
New York magazine says Cosby faces an uphill battle to acquire any of its notes and tapes from interviews with his accusers.
“We believe that the material is protected by the Reporters’ Privilege,” magazine spokeswoman Starke said in an email. “We take the reporters’ privilege seriously and will oppose their motion when we respond.”
Cosby’s incomplete March 10 filing did not sit well with the Southern District of New York, which posted a note on the docket for Cosby’s attorneys.
Saying Quinn Emanuel attorney Kevin Reed failed to comply with e-filing rules, the court directed the firm to email pdfs for its three docket entries: a motion to compel; a declaration in support of that motion by attorney Marshall Searcy; and a memorandum of law in support of that motion.
One week later, the docket remains incomplete.
Cosby’s defamations suits have stirred up confidentiality battles in other districts as well.
Last month in Philadelphia, the National Enquirer’s parent company American Media Inc., or AMI, moved to protect the details of its 2006 defamation settlement involving Cosby accuser Andrea Constand.
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