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Bill Cosby Lawyers Resist Janice Dickinson’s Deposition Request

Bill Cosby.
Bill Cosby.

Bill Cosby’s legal team is opposing a motion by ex- supermodel Janice Dickinson’s lawyers, who say they need to depose the comedian and his former lead attorney to properly oppose a defense motion to dismiss her defamation case on First Amendment grounds.

Dickinson’s suit, filed May 20, alleges Cosby drugged and raped her in 1982 and later defamed her by falsely calling her a liar in two written statements provided to the media last November.

The complaint alleges defamation, false light invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Dickinson is seeking unspecified damages.

Dickinson, 60, is among more than four dozen women who have come forward to accuse the 78-year-old Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them.

In documents filed in September in Los Angeles Superior Court, Dickinson’s attorney, Kaprisha Vallecillo, says the automatic stay of discovery imposed after Cosby’s lawyers filed their dismissal motion should be lifted so that the comedian and his former lawyer, Martin Singer, can be deposed.

But in documents filed Monday, lawyers for Cosby say the request by Dickinson’s attorneys to lift the hold on discovery is premature.

“Granting plaintiff’s request to take those depositions now, before plaintiff has even attempted to demonstrate that the alleged statements were factual, actually false and made by (Cosby), would result in … expensive and burdensome discovery proceedings,” Cosby’s lawyers state in their court papers.

Cosby’s lawyers also maintain that the information Dickinson’s lawyers want from Cosby and Singer could infringe on the attorney-client privilege.

“Mr. Singer has already submitted a sworn declaration detailing his process when he made the statements,” Cosby’s lawyers say in their court papers.

But Vallecillo maintains that the depositions are necessary.

“I am informed and believe that when forced to answer questions under oath about his predatory behavior, Mr. Cosby has admitted to drugging women for the purpose of having sex with them,” Vallecillo states in a sworn declaration. “Yet, he has often branded his victims as liars through his attorneys.”

Vallecillo alleged that Cosby has “engaged in suppressing the truth of what he did to over three dozen victims over 43 years. Defendant and his attorneys have trashed and maligned the reputations of defendant’s victims.”

Before any of Cosby’s other accusers made their allegations public, Dickinson confided about what Cosby allegedly did to her to friends and business acquaintances, according to Vallecillo’s court papers.

Those confidantes included Dickinson’s friend, Edward Tricomi; Pablo Fenjves, the ghostwriter of her autobiography, “No Lifeguard on Duty;” and Judith Regan, who in 2002 was the president and publisher of ReganBooks, a division of HarperCollins, according to Vallecillo.

Dickinson disclosed her rape accusation to Fenjves in 2001, but he did not allow the model to mention it in her book because he feared Cosby would sue HarperCollins, Vallecillo states in her court papers. Fenjves acknowledged his concerns in his declaration filed with the plaintiff’s new court papers.

“Unfortunately, I had to tell (Dickinson) that we would not be able to include much of her story in her book, if any, because Cosby was a powerful man and he would undoubtedly sue to protect his reputation,” Fenjves states. “Janice was upset with this decision because she had hoped to include the entire story.”

Dickinson’s suit alleges that Cosby sexually assaulted her in 1982 at a Lake Tahoe resort. The statute of limitations for a criminal case has expired, but Dickinson maintains she was defamed when Cosby’s representatives accused her of making up the story in the November statements responding to her accusations.

But in their court papers arguing for dismissal of the lawsuit, Cosby’s attorneys maintain that the statements which Dickinson alleges were defamatory were “pre-litigation” documents written in connection with a judicial proceeding and are therefore protected activity under the Constitution. They also address matters of public interest, according to the Cosby lawyers’ court papers.

“The accusations and response are part of a larger public conversation about how to deal with allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct in a manner that is fair to both the alleged victim and the accused,” the Cosby attorneys state in their court papers.

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