MANHATTAN (CN) — Bill Cosby went on “a fishing expedition” by seeking New York magazine’s records on women who have accused the comedian of drugging and raping them, a federal judge found Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe issued the ruling from the bench this morning, which marks the second court defeat in as many days for Cosby on his way to a criminal trial for one count of aggravated indecent assault in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court refused on Monday to let Cosby delay that trial with an appeal.
While Andrea Constand is the only woman whose assault claim against Cosby has not run under the statute of limitations, dozens of others are locked in competing defamation claims with the comedian.
Seven women in a Massachusetts defamation case led by Tamara Green say Cosby branded them as liars when they spoke out about decades-old encounters with him.
New York magazine profiled the women back in July and balked when Cosby served it here with a subpoena.
Judge Gardephe agreed today that the New York Shield Law protects the magazine’s sources and newsgathering materials.
In his concluding remarks holding up reporters’ privilege, Judge Gardephe described the arguments by Cosby’s lawyers as “misguided,” “frivolous,” and “wildly inconsistent with the law.”
The original subpoenas requesting New York Magazine’s materials seemed as though “made in a context where the New York Shield Law doesn’t exist,” the judge chided.
New York magazine spokeswoman Lauren Starke applauded the decision this afternoon.
Though Cosby’s attorney Marshall Searcy declined to give a after the hearing, he had told the court this morning that any inconsistencies or discrepancies in the subpoenaed materials were relevant to Cosby’s defense.
In addition to unpublished transcripts, Cosby sought videos and audio recordings of interviews with the six Cosby accuser plaintiffs.
An attorney with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in Los Angeles, Searcy explained that the subpoenaed material is not available anywhere else, calling the recordings “singular and unique” capturing “particular moment in time.” Searcy explained that reviewing interview materials would prove or disprove if the accusers were “prompted in the interview process.”
New York magazine’s refusal to provide a privilege log incited the attorney. “The rules require it,” he said.
New York Media was represented at the hearing by David Korzenik with Miller Korzenik Sommers.
He argued that Team Cosby failed to prove a “particularized need” to break reporters’ privilege.
Korzenik called the “essentially candy-boxed” dismantling of reporters’ privilege “inappropriate.”
Cosby is due back in Pennsylvania court for his criminal case on May 24.
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