Comedian Bill Cosby’s lawyer wants the court to weigh in on a defamation lawsuit he’s defending against former supermodel Janice Dickinson.
Cosby’s lawyers submitted an application to Justice Anthony Kennedy, asking for an extension on their deadline to submit a petition seeking intervention. Kennedy granted the extension request on Monday, giving the lawyers until July 12, reports nydailynews.com.
In her plea for the extra time, Cosby’s lawyer Becky James argued that a November 21 decision by a California Court of Appeal that upheld Dickinson’s right to sue and a March 14 decision by the California Supreme Court that let the ruling stand were both flawed and should be overturned.
She said the two rulings in Dickinson’s favour exposed meaningful confusion with existing law and made the case “a serious candidate” for review by the highest court in the land.
James argued that when earlier Cosby lawyer Marty Singer branded Dickinson a liar for her 2014 claim that Cosby raped her in 1982, he was expressing a personal opinion protected by the First Amendment.
She said Singer’s opinion was based on a direct contradiction Dickinson made in her own 2002 memoir “No Lifeguard on Duty”, which claimed Cosby gave Dickinson a nasty look when she refused to go back to his hotel room the night of the alleged rape.
When she testified at Cosby’s criminal trial in Pennsylvania in April, Dickinson explained that she recounted the rape allegation to her ghost writer and publisher but was told she would have to sanitise the encounter to get the book published.
When Dickinson stepped forward with her rape claim in 2014, it was after former Canadian national team basketball player Andrea Constand publicly accused Cosby of sexually assaulting her at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004 and after several other women made similar claims against him.
Shortly after Singer branded Dickinson a liar, she sued Cosby in 2015.
In her filing on Friday, James said the decision to let the Dickinson case proceed conflicted with federal court decisions that struck down similar lawsuits brought by Cosby accusers Katherine McKee and Renita Hill, reports nydailynews.com
She said current “uncertainty in the law chills an attorney’s ability to effectively represent an accused client”.
Cosby, 80, was convicted in April of three felony counts of sexually assaulting Constand. His sentencing in the criminal case has been set for September.