(Reuters) - A federal judge in Massachusetts on Sunday night rejected attempts by the wife of comedian Bill Cosby to halt her upcoming deposition in a defamation case brought by seven women against the disgraced entertainer, court records showed.
Camille Cosby's lawyers late on Saturday filed an emergency motion to delay her deposition, scheduled for Monday, pending an appeal of a judge's Friday ruling not to stay the proceeding. They argued the deposition would create a "media circus" and threaten her personal safety.
U.S. District Judge Mark Mastroianni ruled late on Sunday night that the deposition would go ahead on Monday morning. He also ordered the attorneys to court for a brief status conference ahead of the meeting.
Lawyers for the seven women fired back at the Camille Cosby's motion on Sunday, saying the claims were without merit.
"The Cosbys' last-minute filing is the latest in a series of increasingly brazen attempts to interfere with the deposition of Mrs. Cosby," the attorneys said in a filing. "The Cosbys should not be allowed to indefinitely delay Mrs. Cosby's deposition by repeatedly filing what is in substance the same motion, over and over again."
Mastroianni earlier this month ruled that Camille Cosby would have to talk to lawyers bringing the defamation suit against the comedian, although she could not be compelled to reveal private conversations with her husband.
More than 50 women have publicly accused Cosby - best known for his role as the father in the 1980s television hit "The Cosby Show" - of raping them, often after plying them with alcohol or drugs in incidents dating back decades.
Most of the alleged assaults date too far back to be criminally prosecuted, but Pennsylvania officials late last year charged the 78-year-old entertainer with sexually assaulting a woman in 2005, with the charges coming just days before the statute of limitations was to expire.
Cosby has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, but a Pennsylvania judge early this month rejected Cosby's request to dismiss the charges.
The Massachusetts lawsuit was filed in December 2014 by Tamara Green and later joined by six other women who contend Cosby sexually assaulted or abused and defamed them by calling them liars.
Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Peter Cooney and Michael Perry