• Bill Cosby accusers settle defamation suit with insurer; imprisoned star maintains his innocence

    Bill Cosby victim Andrea ConstandBill Cosby is at the center of a confusing civil suit. A civil defamation lawsuit filed by seven women against Cosby has been settled according to the plantiffs’ lawyer and court documents. However, both Cosby and his lawyer deny the comedian’s involvement in the settlement.

    Cosby is currently serving a three- to 10-year prison sentence on three counts of aggravated indecent assault. While his sentence is tied to the 2004 sexual assault of Andrea Constead, over 50 women have come forward since 2014 alleging abuse that spanned several decades. The Cosby Show star still maintains his innocence and is appealing the decision from prison (where he is also, apparently, developing TV shows ideas).

    Bill Cosby accusers ‘satisfied’ with settlement

    The suit accused Cosby of defamation when he said that the women coming forward about alleged sexual assault were lying. The original suit came from alleged victim Tamara Green in 2014. Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis, Louisa Moritz, and Angela Leslie later joined on. In February, the Supreme Court struck down a similar suit brought by Kathrine Mae McKee against Cosby’s lawyer.

    Cosby’s lawyers filed a defamation countersuit against the women in 2015.

    While the settled lawsuit is over Cosby’s actions, his spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt, asserts that the disgraced comedian has nothing to do with the settlement and does not acknowledge it.

    “Mr. Cosby did not settle any cases with anyone,” Wyatt emailed USA TODAY. “He is not paying anything to anyone, and he is still pursuing his counterclaims. AIG (Cosby’s insurance carrier) decided to settle these cases, without the knowledge, permission and/or consent of Mr. Cosby. Mr. Cosby vehemently denies the allegations brought against him in these defamation suits and he maintains his innocence.”

    While the terms of the settlement are confidential, Joseph Cammarata, who is representing the plaintiffs confirmed, “The plaintiffs’ claims against Mr. Cosby have settled and each is satisfied with the settlement.” However, Moritz, an actress known for her role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, died in January.

    Cosby’s defamation countersuit still in play

    Cosby has not only denied participation in the deal, but he will potentially move forward with the ongoing countersuit. The countersuit claims that the women defamed him and their suit torpedoed deals he had with Netflix and NBC. Netflix did, in fact, pull his one-hour stand-up special Bill Cosby: 77 hours after a Janice Dickinson interview on Entertainment Tonight. Hulu also chose not to renew its license for The Cosby Show in 2016, though executives claimed it had nothing to do with the accusations.

    According to Cammarata, the settlement does not address the counterclaims, but if that case moves forward he has several motions planned. He has stated, “The anticipated motions include, but are not limited to: (1) a motion for summary judgment as to all Counterclaims against Counterdefendant Therese Serignese on the ground that Mr. Cosby cannot establish that Ms. Serignese made a false statement with actual malice.”

    Cosby is still at the center of other cases, including one criminal case. The criminal case will go to trial this October over a 1947 alleged sexual assault of then-15-year old Judy Huth.

    Rosa Escandon

    I am a stand up comic and writer living in Brooklyn, NY. When I'm not on stage, I am Comedy Editor for The Tusk, sit on the board of the Cinder Block Comedy Festival, and writing my next project. I am passionate about writing about feminism and comedy as well as how women, LBGTQ people, and minorities are changing the face of comedy and entertainment. You may have seen me on Buzzfeed Video, Seriously.TV, aplus, or maybe just on twitter.

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