LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bill Cosby and his former lawyer were ordered on Monday to give sworn depositions in the defamation lawsuit brought by an ex-supermodel who alleges they falsely called her a liar after she publicly accused the comedian of sexually assaulting her 35 years ago.
The ruling by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Debra Weintraub marks the second time in two months that Cosby, 78, will be required to testify under oath in response to a complaint of sexual misconduct against him.
In this case, he and Martin Singer, a prominent Los Angeles attorney who had represented Cosby until he was replaced last month with a new legal team, must submit under oath to questions from the lawyer of onetime model and reality TV personality Janice Dickinson.
The judge ruled that both depositions are to be taken by Nov. 25, but stipulated nothing in her order would override attorney-client privilege. Cosby’s lawyers said they would appeal her decision.
Dickinson, 60, is one of the best known of more than 40 women who have come forward to accuse Cosby of sexually assaulting them after plying them with drugs or alcohol, allegations that the comedian has denied.
Cosby has never been criminally charged. And many of those alleged incidents date back decades, putting them beyond the statute of limitations for such claims.
But Dickinson is seeking unspecified damages on grounds that she was defamed by Cosby and Singer when they asserted in statements to the media that her account of being drugged and raped by Cosby in 1982 was a fabrication.
Her complaint mirrors defamation claims brought to court by at least two other accusers.
A fourth accuser suing on the basis of psychological injuries she claims to have suffered from an alleged sexual assault won a court order in August compelling Cosby to give a deposition last month.
Weintraub ruled that information Dickinson sought in opposing Cosby’s motion to dismiss her lawsuit would not be readily attainable through normal discovery proceedings or “informal discovery,” making a deposition necessary.
Cosby’s lawyers said that decision is at odds with his right to have his motion heard before going through expensive, burdensome proceedings such as depositions.
The only other time Cosby has testified under oath in such a case was in a deposition for a lawsuit brought by a former Temple University employee with whom he settled in 2006.
Reporting By Steve Gorman; Editing by Sandra Maler