Bill Cosby sues woman, attorneys who accused him of sex assault: New York Times

Bill Cosby (centre) arrives for a preliminary hearing on sexual assault charges at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
Bill Cosby (centre) arrives for a preliminary hearing on sexual assault charges at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bill Cosby has sued a woman whose allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted her sparked the only criminal charges against the disgraced comedian over his running sexual assault scandal, the New York Times reported on Wednesday (Feb 17).

The lawsuit, which was filed under seal in a federal Pennsylvania court, named Ms Andrea Constand and her attorneys Dolores Troiani and Bebe Kivitz the Times reported.

The Times said US District Judge Eduardo Robreno lifted the seal on only parts of the civil action, so the full extent was not immediately known.

The cause of the case was listed as a "contract dispute".

Prosecutors late last year charged Cosby, 78, with sexually assaulting Ms Constand, a former basketball coach at his alma mater Temple University, just days before the statue of limitations to bring charges ran out.

The New York Times said that Cosby's attorneys have repeatedly accused the defendants of breaching an agreement in a previous civil suit brought by Ms Constand that was resolved out of court with a confidential settlement.

Cosby's suit also named Ms Constand's mother and American Media Inc, which owns the National Enquirer magazine, as defendants, court records show.

Representatives for Ms Constand, her attorneys and American Media could not be immediately reached for comment.

The New York Times reported that in a 2005 deposition in Ms Constand's civil case, Cosby said he agreed to give the National Enquirer an exclusive interview about her accusations after it promised to scrap an article about a second woman's claims.

A Pennsylvania judge two weeks ago rejected Cosby's attempts to have the criminal trial dismissed. Cosby's attorneys failed to convince the judge that their client could not be prosecuted due to an agreement reached with a former Montgomery Country district attorney more than a decade ago.

An entertainer who built a career on family-friendly comedy, Cosby now faces accusations from more than 50 women that he sexually assaulted them, often after plying them with drugs and alcohol, in a series of attacks dating to the 1960s.