Camille Cosby will be deposed in the defamation lawsuit against her husband, Bill, in Massachusetts.
She was scheduled to be deposed in January when, at the last minute, a judge agreed to a delay. Camille Cosby tried to convince a court to block it permanently. But on Thursday, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled that she must give a deposition. She can, however, refuse to answer questions about “private marital conversations.”
In this case against Cosby, seven women who have accused the comedian of sexual assault are suing him for defamation; in the aftermath of their public allegations, the women say, Cosby branded them as liars. Cosby responded by countersuing the seven women — Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis and Angela Leslie — for defaming him in turn. He alleges they “engaged in a campaign to assassinate Mr. Cosby’s reputation and character by willfully, maliciously, and falsely accusing Mr. Cosby of engaging in sexual misconduct in an opportunistic attempt to extract financial gain from their allegations.”
“I think it was a very good ruling,” Joe Cammarata, attorney for the seven women, said by phone. “It allows us to go forward and ask questions of Mrs. Cosby, just like we said we wanted to do. Mr. Cosby and Mrs. Cosby sought to not have us ask her any questions. Not even her name. She didn’t want to show up.”
Though questions about private conversations between husband and wife will be off-limits, “everything else is fair game,” Cammarata said. He expects the deposition to take place on February 22. (He says his side is more than ready: “I was 15 minutes from leaving my office the last time her deposition was scheduled in January, and I was prepared to take her deposition on that date.”)
Camille Cosby’s attorneys issued a statement in response to the ruling, calling the decision “critically important” in “affirming the confidential nature of and protection afforded to marital communications.”
“This is the same group that filed a motion seeking to not allow us to even take her deposition,” Cammarata said. “How they can say that the judge permitting us to take her deposition is a good day for them, it just strains credibility.”
What should Cosby’s legal team have said instead? “No comment,” said Cammarata. “That’s what this all started with. They overreach… Cosby came out, after these women made allegations, and just blasted these poor ladies. Look at Therese Serignese. Here’s a woman that, he admitted in a deposition to giving quaaludes to her and having sex with her and couldn’t tell whether or not she consented. When she came out, she was blasted as a liar. Really? Sometimes ‘no comment’ is appropriate.”