Bill Cosby has filed a motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought by three women who allege he sexually assaulted them and then wrongly branded them as liars in public. In the Friday filing, Cosby, who has now been accused of sexually assaulting more than 30 women, declares his innocence.
The court document reads: “Mr. Cosby denies each and every one of the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled at him by” plaintiffs Tamara Green, Therese Serignese and Linda Traitz. The filing also claims that Cosby was within the bounds of “self-defense” when his legal team publicly undermined the women’s credibility, arguing that they have “no cause for defamation” because the law “does not require that one stand idly by while he is publicly attacked.”
Green, Serignese and Traitz are attempting to hold Cosby accountable for his alleged crimes by suing him for defamation over his legal team’s attacks on them when they made their accusations. Like many of Cosby’s alleged victims, the statutes of limitations on the actual (alleged) crimes themselves have expired.
“Statements made in self-defense are privileged, and cannot form the basis of a defamation action,” argue Cosby’s lawyers in Friday’s filing. “Any other rule would discourage full and open public discourse and would present those who are verbally attacked with a Hobson’s Choice: either remain silent and allow accusations to stand unanswered, or publicly deny them and invite the expense, burden and vexations of a defamation suit.”
The three women in the defamation case are just some of Cosby’s more than 30 alleged rape victims. Green, Serignese and Traitz all claim Cosby drugged and assaulted them in the 1970s. Dozens of women have come forward in recent months to accuse Cosby of similar conduct. He has not been formally charged with a crime.