A Massachusetts judge Friday refused to throw out a libel suit brought against beleaguered entertainer Bill Cosby by three women who say he sexually assaulted them – the same day he was scheduled to be deposed in a Los Angeles civil suit filed by another alleged victim.
Earlier this year Tamara Green, Linda Joy Traitz and Therese Serignese filed suit against Cosby alleging he defamed them in interviews his representatives did with media organizations that “impugned” their reputations and subjected them to “public contempt, ridicule, aversion or disgrace.”
U.S. District Judge Mark Mastroianni not only refused to dismiss their case he ruled that Cosby is liable for comments made by his representatives.
“It does not take a speculative leap for the court to conclude Defendant would be personally involved in reviewing these types of allegations against him, crafting or approving the responsive statements, and directing the dissemination,” he wrote.
Joe Cammarata, who filed the defamation suit on behalf of Green, Traitz and Serignese, was thrilled with the judge’s decision.
“My clients are happy that they will have an opportunity to have their day in court and restore their good name and reputation,” Cammarata tells PEOPLE. “The judge rejected each of Mr. Cosby’s arguments, which he raised in an attempt to prevent the case from moving forward.”
He says he hopes to begin discovery and scheduling depositions – including Cosby’s – within the next couple of weeks.
“We may look to talk to other women who have similar stories to tell and preserve their testimony as part of the record,” he says. “There’s going to be a fact finding stage in an attempt to further develop the case.”
Attorney Monique Pressley, who has become Cosby’s chief spokeswoman, did not respond to a request for comment on the judge’s decision.
More than 50 women have now accused the entertainer of drugging and/or sexually assaulting them. One of them is Judy Huth, who filed a civil suit saying he sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion in 1974 when she was 15.
Cosby’s deposition, which was supposed to happen Friday, will be sealed for at least 60 days, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled on Wednesday. However, the testimony could be made public after December 22, when a hearing on the matter will be held.
Huth’s attorney Gloria Allred, who represents many of the women who have accused Cosby of wrongdoing, was fighting the comedian’s efforts to seal the deposition. She could not be reached for comment about whether the deposition happened.
Cosby’s attorneys argued in a court motion that Allred is trying the case in the media instead of the courtroom.
“Since taking over representation from Huth’s first lawyer in the case, Allred has issued press releases and has given media interviews in an effort to influence the public’s perception of Mr. Cosby,” according to a motion filed by Cosby’s attorneys.
Huth alleges she and her 16-year-old girlfriend met Cosby while she was watching a movie he was making in a Southern California park. Despite knowing their ages, Huth claimed Cosby invited them to his tennis club the following weekend, according to court papers obtained by PEOPLE.
After meeting him at the club, Cosby allegedly gave the girls alcohol before taking them to the Playboy Mansion, telling them to say they were 19 if anyone asked.
When Huth went to use a bathroom at the mansion, Cosby allegedly met her in an adjoining bedroom and proceeded to “sexually molest her by attempting to put his hand down her pants, and then taking her hand in his hand and performing a sex act on himself without her consent.”
Huth said she only recalled the incident three years ago.
Cosby’s attorney, Marty Singer, called the accusations “absolutely false,” “unreliable” and “untimely.”
Cosby’s attorneys have argued that Huth tried to sell her story 10 years ago to the National Enquirer.
The deposition will be the first time Cosby has spoken about the sexual assault allegations against him since a separate case in 2005. Portions of that deposition were unsealed earlier this month; in the deposition, Cosby admitted he gave Quaaludes to a woman and had sex with her.
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