Bill Cosby battles effort to require wife’s deposition in legal case

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Comedians lawyers move to reject call for Camille Cosby to give evidenceas Oberlin College joins list of institutions rescinding actors honorary degrees

Bill Cosby is fighting an attempt to require his wife to give a sworn deposition in the legal case brought against him by seven women who have accused him of sexual assault.

On Friday, lawyers for the actor and comedian filed a motion to quash the demand for his wife, Camille, to give evidence. On the same day, Oberlin College in Ohio joined a string of prestigious academic institutions which have rescinded honorary degrees awarded to Cosby.

A lawyer for seven of the approximately 50 women who have accused Cosby of raping or molesting them over a period of decades has subpoenaed Camille Cosby to be deposed on 6 January 2016, at a hotel in Springfield, Massachusetts.

But lawyers for Cosby said Camille had no firsthand knowledge of alleged events detailed in a lawsuit filed by the seven. The attorneys also claimed that any confidential communications between Cosby and his wife were barred from admittance by law in Massachusetts.

The women want to hear from Camille because she was also Cosbys business manager at the time of the alleged offences.

I think she has information thats relevant to the litigation in this matter, Joseph Cammarata, an attorney for the actors accusers, said on Friday.

Both Camille and Bill Cosby deny the allegations. He has never been charged with any crime in relation to the accusations.

His denials of wrongdoing were undermined in July, however, when documents were unsealed that showed him admitting in 2005 that in the past he had acquired the potent sedative Quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex.

More than a year has passed since women began coming forward to claim that Cosby sexually assaulted them, often repeatedly, in alleged cases covering decades from the 1960s to the turn of the millennium.

The women began identifying themselves in a display of defiance that academics hailed as an important new development in the womens rights movement.

Cosby is now being sued for defamation by some of the women, in federal court in Springfield. Too much time has passed for the women to be able to sue on the rape and sexual assault allegations.

Cosby, 78, filed his own defamation lawsuit against the women this week, accusing them of making false allegations of sexual misconduct for financial gain. He said the women have engaged in a campaign to assassinate his reputation and character.

Cosby is seeking unspecified damages and public retractions from the seven women, named in legal documents as Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis and Angela Leslie.

The womens lawyer, Cammarata, said his clients want their day in court and expect that their good name and reputation will be restored.

Camille Cosby married Bill Cosby in 1964, when she was 19. Last year she released a statement saying: The man I met, and fell in love with, and whom I continue to love, is the man you all knew through his work a kind man and a wonderful husband, father and friend.

Oberlin College, a private, progressive liberal arts school in Oberlin, Ohio, gave Cosby an honorary doctorate of humanities in 2010. On Friday it announced its decision to revoke the honor.

Mr Cosbys admitted actions are not congruent with Oberlin Colleges commitment to supporting survivors of sexualized violence, as reflected in its sexual misconduct policy, and do not epitomise the high standards Oberlin considers in awarding honorary degrees, college president Marvin Krislov said in a written statement.

Institutions that have revoked honorary degrees since the allegations surfaced include Boston, Brown, Drexel, Baylor and Fordham universities and John Jay and Swarthmore colleges.

  • The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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