1:43pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Bill Cosby Seeks to Enforce Confidentiality With Accuser Who Settled
Bill Cosby's attorneys are looking to quiet the storm that erupted after a judge unsealed old court documents in his battle with accuser Andrea Constand. On Thursday, the embattled comedian filed a new motion to enforce the parties' settlement agreement.
The move follows a whirlwind of activity in recent weeks involving Cosby, who has been accused of sexual misconduct towards more than two dozen women.
On July 6, over Cosby's objections, a judge ordered the release of documents showing that Cosby admitted in a deposition to procuring drugs to give to women for the purpose of sex. Soon after, Constand's attorney asked for injunctive relief so that the full deposition could be released. Before the judge ruled on the matter, The New York Times obtained the transcript of the decade-old deposition from a court reporter.
Cosby's lawyers blame Constand's attorney Delores Troiani for what the Times published. They say the settlement agreement required the plaintiff use "best efforts" to keep the full deposition private.
"It appears that neither Plaintiff nor her counsel ever bothered to tell her court reporter to treat Defendant’s deposition as confidential," write Cosby's lawyers in Thursday's motion (read here). "Far from using their 'best efforts' to ensure compliance with the confidentiality provisions, Plaintiff and her counsel appear to have made no effort whatsoever. Such a cavalier attitude to the confidentiality of Defendant’s deposition is consistent with Plaintiff’s desire to continue her campaign against Defendant in the public forum, in direct violation of the confidentiality provisions to which she freely consented."
Cosby's lawyers are portraying confidentiality as what induced them to make the settlement in the first place. Although they are not yet demanding that Constand return the money she got for dropping her claims, they say that Constand has hardly been willing to give up her benefit from the deal.
As Cosby's team is on a new counteroffensive that includes blaming the media for salacious headlines and downplaying deposition comments as no admittance of rape, they are concurrently demanding the old confidentiality agreement be honored.
In her effort to have the full deposition released, Troiani cited a statement by one of Cosby's publicists as evidence that confidentiality been breached by Cosby's team. In a motion to strike filed earlier this week, Cosby's lawyers called this a harmless mistake. What's more, they called attention to earlier alleged breaches by Constand. In fact, they point to a tweet allegedly sent out by Constand in February, 2014, exclaiming, "I won’t go away, there is a lot more I will say." They say she then gave an interview with the Toronto Sun about her "heavy ordeal involving Bill Cosby."
The solution, says Cosby's team, is to moot the request for the release of the full deposition and refer breaches of the settlement agreement to a magistrate judge to resolve privately.
Even in the event this happens, Cosby is still facing lawsuits from others accusers who say he defamed them as liars. And one woman, Judy Huth, is attempting to get around statute of limitations with an allegation she was the victim of sexual misconduct by Cosby at the age of 15.
On Wednesday, the California Supreme Court decided not to review Cosby's arguments that the filing of the Huth lawsuit was procedurally improper. Huth's attorney Gloria Allred is trumpeting this as a "major victory" and teasing a new deposition of Cosby as soon as 30 days from now, but the Huth lawsuit is subject to significant preliminary challenges that won't be addressed by a judge until at least March 2016. Cosby won't likely be deposed again, if at all, for quite some time.