"The law does not require that one stand idly by while he is publicly attacked," the motion states

By Jacqueline Andriakos
Updated February 27, 2015 04:10 PM
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Todd Williamson/Invision/AP

Bill Cosby has filed a motion to dismiss the defamation case brought against him by three women accusing him of sexual offenses.

Cosby’s attorneys submitted the motion Friday to dismiss the suit filed by Tamara Green, Therese Serignese and Linda Traitz, who claim that the comedian drugged and sexually assaulted them in the 1970s and then called them liars when he was confronted about the accusations.

His lawyers state in the motion obtained by PEOPLE that Cosby, 77, was simply acting in self-defense as his reputation and career were under attack in the wake of the sexual assault allegations, which have been made in recent months by more than two dozen women. Cosby and his legal camp have strenuously denied the accusations.

“The law does not require that one stand idly by while he is publicly attacked,” they argue in the document. “Instead the law entitles an individual who is accused of serious wrongdoing to rebut the allegations without facing defamation claims.”

The motion describes the defamation suit as a roundabout way of attacking the Cosby Show alum with decades-old claims.

“This lawsuit is, rather, a misuse of the law of defamation to attempt an end run around the relevant statutes of limitations for the alleged assaults,” the 38-page filing says.

Tamara Green, 56, filed the defamation lawsuit against Cosby on Dec. 10 in Springfield, Massachusetts. She said that the comedian’s representatives defamed her in comments that they made last year.

A person identified as Cosby’s publicist told Newsweek in February, “This is a 10-year discredited accusation that proved to be nothing at the time, and is still nothing.” Walter Phillips Jr., one of Cosby’s lawyers, told the Washington Post that his client didn’t know Green and that the allegations were untrue.

Serignese and Traitz – who came forward in November with their own recounts of sexual assault involving the actor – joined the suit in January.

“We certainly welcome other people standing up to Bill Cosby to redress harm caused to them by statements made by Mr. Cosby through his lawyer and spokespeople,” Green’s attorney Joe Cammarata told PEOPLE at the time.

The three women have until March 20 to file a reply to the motion for dismissal.

Cosby has canceled or postponed many performances as more accusers speak out against him.