Cosby’s wife seeks to avoid further questions in defamation suit

Image:Comedian Bill Cosby addresses the crowd in front of his wife, Camille Cosby, after being honored during the Apollo Theatre’s 75th anniversary gala in New York, June 8, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files

By Scott Malone

BOSTON (Reuters) – Lawyers for Bill Cosby’s wife and business manager Camille Cosby will ask a judge on Tuesday to spare her from answering further questions related to a lawsuit by seven women who claim the comedian sexually assaulted them.

Camille Cosby’s lawyers have accused the attorneys for the seven women of acting improperly during a February 22 deposition about the lawsuit, one of a series of actions by women who have accused Bill Cosby of sex abuse, toppling him from his position as one of the United States’ best-loved entertainers.

“Plaintiffs’ counsel, Joseph Cammarata, asked Mrs. Cosby a litany of improper and offensive questions, including questions regarding her own sexual relations, her own political commentary, and the death of the Cosby’s son in 1997,” they said in papers filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts. “These questions were irrelevant to the issues in this case and plainly were designed to annoy, embarrass, and oppress the witness.”

Cammarata has previously defended asking Camille Cosby, 72, direct questions about sex, saying it was appropriate given the subject matter involved. The seven women have sued Bill Cosby for defamation, saying that he lied when he denied sexually assaulting them.

“Are we going to talk about the sexual history? Of course. Are we going to talk about the extramarital activity? Yes,” Cammarata said in a January hearing. “We already know these subject matters.”

More than 50 women have accused Bill Cosby, best known for his role as the father character in the 1980s television hit “The Cosby Show” of sexually assaulting them, often after plying them with drugs and alcohol, in a string of incidents dating back decades.

Most of the alleged crimes are too old to be the subject of criminal prosecution. But authorities in Pennsylvania charged the 78-year-old entertainer with sexually assaulting a woman in 2005.

Cosby, who is out on bail, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David Hennessy, who will preside over Tuesday’s hearing in Worcester, Massachusetts, last week ruled that any further depositions of Bill Cosby related to the suit will be postponed until after the Pennsylvania criminal charges are resolved.

Tamara Green filed the Massachusetts lawsuit in December 2014. She was later joined by six other women who say Cosby’sexually assaulted or abused and defamed them by calling them liars.

Cosby has countersued, accusing the women of defaming him.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Alistair Bell)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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