February 27, 2015 / 6:38 PM / 4 years ago

Lawyers for Bill Cosby ask U.S. judge to dismiss defamation lawsuit

Comedian Bill Cosby performs at The Temple Buell Theatre in Denver, Colorado January 17, 2015. REUTERS/Barry Gutierrez

BOSTON (Reuters) - Attorneys for Bill Cosby asked a federal court judge on Friday to dismiss a defamation suit filed against the comedian in Massachusetts by three women who said he called them liars when they accused him of sexual assault.

About three dozen women have accused Cosby, 77, of sexual misconduct in incidents dating back to the 1960s. The comedian has denied all the claims, most of which have seen the statute of limitations run out.

The three women who sued Cosby in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts, took a new legal tack, contending that he defamed them when they made public allegations of sexual assault.

“This is not an action for sexual assault,” Cosby’s attorneys wrote in a motion asking that the suit be dismissed. “This lawsuit is, rather, a misuse of the law of defamation to attempt an end run around the relevant status of limitations for the alleged assaults.”

Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Susan Heavey

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