Cosby settles defamation lawsuit brought by seven women

NEW YORK • Convicted sex offender Bill Cosby has settled a federal defamation lawsuit brought by seven women, who said the former actor and comedian sexually assaulted them and wrongly called them liars when they went public with their charges years later.

The settlement ends a court fight that predates the 81-year-old's conviction a year ago for drugging and sexually assaulting Ms Andrea Constand, a former Temple University administrator, in 2004.

Cosby is serving a three-to 10-year sentence for that crime, though his lawyers plan an appeal.

He was the first celebrity convicted of sexual misconduct since the rise of the #MeToo movement.

The settlement covers seven of about 50 women that emerged over the past decade to level sex abuse charges against the once-beloved star of The Cosby Show, who built a decades-long career on a family-friendly style of comedy.

All the allegations but Ms Constand's were too old to be the subject of criminal prosecution, which prompted the seven women to sue for defamation when Cosby accused them of lying.

"Each plaintiff is satisfied with the settlement," attorneys for Cosby said in papers filed in United States District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts, near one of Cosby's homes.

They did not disclose the terms of the agreement.

The defamation suit was filed in December 2014. One of the seven, actress Louisa Moritz, died in January at age 72.

Cosby has denied the accusations and maintained his innocence.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2019, with the headline 'Cosby settles defamation lawsuit brought by seven women'. Print Edition | Subscribe