Defamation Case Against Bill Cosby Dismissed
Bill Cosby won a legal battle against one of his accusers Thursday, an event so rare lately that he tweeted about his legal woes for the first time since December 2015.
A federal judge in Massachusetts dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed against Cosby by accuser Katherine McKee, ruling that she had no legal basis to claim the comedian defamed her by defending himself against her accusations.
Cosby was so pleased he tweeted the dismissal order, his first in more than a year responding to developments in his ongoing legal battles, including the criminal charges he’s facing in suburban Philadelphia over a 13-year-old encounter.
Cosby has said virtually nothing in public since the rush of allegations against him began in the fall of 2014. His Twitter account shows his last post was a thank you to friends and fans, in December 2015. He started posting again in January of this year but only about civil rights history and heroes. Until Thursday.
McKee, one of some 60 women who have accused Cosby of drugging and/or sexually assaulting them in episodes dating back decades, came forward in late 2014 along with other women, claiming her friend of eight years had raped her in a hotel room in the 1970s.
When Cosby and his lawyers denied these and other accusations, some of the accusers sued him in civil court in several states for defamation, asserting that he and his team had suggested they were liars and extortionists by saying he didn’t do it.
“An accused person cannot be foreclosed … from considering the issuance of a simple and unequivocal denial — free from overall defamatory triggers or contextual themes. In the court’s view, such a situation would be inconsistent with basic First Amendment principles,” wrote U.S. District Judge Mark Mastroianni.
“It is paramount in a free society to be able to insist on one’s innocence in the face of serious public accusations, and today’s ruling reinforces that fundamental right,” said Cosby’s current lawyer, Angela Agrusa, in an emailed statement to USA TODAY.
McKee’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment, according to the Associated Press.
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SOURCE: USA Today