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Bill Cosby’s upcoming deposition won’t be public — for now.
Cosby will testify Friday in the lawsuit from Judy Huth, who says he sexually assaulted her in 1974.
His attorneys filed in September for an order to seal the deposition, likely remembering the uproar over the leak by the New York Times in July of a deposition from 2005 in the separate lawsuit brought by Andrea Constand, in which Cosby said he gave women Quaaludes for sex and paid a women to conceal his affairs from his wife.
In a hearing Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, judge Craig D. Karlan approved an order to seal the deposition for 60 days. “It seems to me, to be the most reasonable way to approach this because I have no what’s going to happen at this deposition,” said Karlan.
The parties will argue the scope of the protective order (which covers Cosby’s deposition and Huth’s, scheduled for Oct. 15) in a hearing Dec. 22. In the interim, if either side wants to file motions to compel further answers from Cosby or Huth, the motions cannot excerpt the testimony, only refer to it.
In addition to the order, Cosby’s attorneys filed for sanctions to end the case on the grounds Huth filed improperly in December 2014. Earlier on Wednesday, the judge denied the motion.
In requesting termination, the comedian’s lawyers argued Huth filed without two required certificates of merit and improperly sued Cosby by name, which they contend violates a California code. They say the lawyer who filed Huth’s complaint, Marc Strecker, had rushed the courthouse to dodge an extortion charge after demanding $250,000 from Cosby not to go to the police.
They went to an appellate court trying to get the lawsuit dismissed. Though Strecker conceded a “regrettable mistake” in the filing, the California Supreme Court refused to hear the issue.
In recent weeks, Cosby’s lawyers have criticized Huth’s attorney Gloria Allred for her aggressive public relations strategy, which has included naming Cosby in press conferences about the case. They say she continues to violate the statute requiring Cosby’s anonymity in the proceedings.
Cosby’s lawyer Marty Singer said naming Cosby had irreparably prejudiced his client because the case started the recent series of sexual assault allegations against the comedian. “All of a sudden, after this, numerous women came forward. None of this came forward before the lawsuit was filed,” he said Wednesday. “This was the lynchpin that triggered everything coming forward against my client being tried in the media.”
Allred disagreed. “Mr. Singer wants to make it look like legions of women came forward after the plaintiff’s lawsuit. Nothing could be farther than the truth, 13 Jane Does were named in the 2005 Andrea Constand lawsuit and some of them came forward after the case was confidentially settled.”
Judge Karlan disagrees the timing requires termination of Huth’s lawsuit. “What would be different if this had all been disclosed in April instead of December? Theoretically you would have the same exact outcome,” he said. “What I’m trying to see is why this did irreparable harm to your client. What I’m seeing is maybe it happened sooner.”
“That’s like unringing a bell,” replied Singer.
“I believe it was filed wrong initially, but I don’t believe it [will prejudice against Cosby]. It’s troubling the process wasn’t followed,” said Karlan. “In spite of what happened, which I’m troubled by, there’s nothing to indicate Mr. Cosby or Ms. Huth would not get a fair trial. Therefore I’m denying the motion.”
“We’re very happy about the sanctions decision,” Allred told press after the hearing, adding, “we’re going to follow the court’s order” on the seal. Cosby’s attorneys declined to comment after the hearing.
Oct. 7, 12:13 p.m. Updated with details on the seal and comment from Allred.
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