California judge delays Cosby's deposition in sex abuse lawsuit

Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:19pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Reuters) - A California judge on Wednesday indefinitely postponed a sworn deposition of Bill Cosby in a sexual assault lawsuit against the comedian, citing his right to avoid self-incrimination in a separate criminal case pending in Pennsylvania.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Craig Kaplan said he granted the delay in recognition that Cosby's constitutional prerogative to remain silent in the face of criminal prosecution could limit his ability to answer questions under oath in civil proceedings.

Kaplan also put on hold any further deposition of Judy Huth, who brought the civil lawsuit alleging that Cosby plied her with alcohol and molested her in 1974 at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles when she was 15.

Huth, in her complaint, accuses Cosby of putting his hand down her pants and then "taking her hand in his hand and performing a sex act on himself without her consent."

Wednesday's ruling could portend similar delays in several other lawsuits accusing the entertainer of sexual misconduct.

"There's a great risk that all these lawsuits are going to be put off for an indefinite period of time, specifically until the criminal case ends," former Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Dmitry Gorin told Reuters.

Cosby, 78, who is free on bail in the Pennsylvania case, had been scheduled to submit to questioning under oath from Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, on April 7. She previously deposed him last October.

The judge ruled that depositions of other witnesses in the case could proceed, and Allred said she planned to take a sworn statement from Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner.   Continued...

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby arrives for the second day of hearings at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Ed Hille/Pool