Bill Cosby’s lawyers argued on Friday that a woman accusing him of sexual assault had to notify him before she spoke to police last year under the terms of their confidential civil settlement.
Cosby wants a federal judge in Philadelphia to void the 2006 court settlement and order Andrea Constand to refund the money he paid her. The amount has never been disclosed.
Cosby sued Constand for breach of contract in February the day before her lawyers testified at a key hearing in his criminal case. Constand’s lawyers, along with her mother, were also named as defendants for the information they provided. The lawyers argued Friday that Cosby filed the suit to “chill” the testimony of key witnesses at his upcoming criminal trial.
Lawyer Dolores Troiani called the lawsuit “disturbing and distasteful” and asked that it be dismissed. She said the settlement clearly carves out an exception for Constand to keep mum if authorities request secrecy.
U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno did not immediately rule on the request.
Constand met Cosby in about 2004 when she worked at Temple University, where he was a longtime trustee. She went to police in 2005 to say the TV star had sexually assaulted her at his home as she sought career advice. Cosby wasn’t charged at the time but was arrested a decade later, in December, after his testimony in the lawsuit was unsealed and dozens of other accusers had come forward.
Cosby acknowledged giving Constand three blue pills for stress that night and having sexual contact with her, but he said it was consensual.
His lawyers asked on Friday that Constand and the other defendants be deposed soon about the contract violations he alleges.
“If there was a request for her to speak to law enforcement, she was supposed to advise us,” lawyer Samuel Silver argued.
However, he asked that Cosby’s deposition be put on hold amid the criminal case, a request that did not sit well with Troiani.
“This is hanging over their heads,” she said. “If he’s not ready to proceed, then he should withdraw (the suit) or it should be dismissed.”
She said Cosby first breached the confidentiality clause with public denials that his agents made over the years to the various sex-assault allegations.
Cosby is due in court in the criminal case next week in suburban Montgomery County, where he will again ask that the charges be dropped. No trial date has been set.