LOS ANGELES •Lawyer Gloria Allred introduced three women with new accusations against actor Bill Cosby on Wednesday at a news conference in Los Angeles and challenged a lawyer for Cosby, Ms Monique Pressley, to debate the raft of sexual allegations levelled by dozens of women against the entertainer.
Ms Pressley has been on a media campaign arguing that Cosby has never been charged with a crime, that he has repeatedly denied the accusations of sexual assault and that whatever the merits of their claims, the Cosby accusers have taken too long to make their charges.
She has argued that the verdict that matters would have been that of a court of law, but now the statute of limitations has expired in most cases.
But Ms Allred has said the truth should not be settled on such technicalities when it is clear that the women were afraid to come forward because Cosby was in a position of such power.
Ms Allred said, referring to the number of women she represents who have brought allegations against the actor: "I have a message for Ms Pressley. Instead of trying to change the subject from the specific allegations against Mr Cosby to vague generalisations and truisms about the criminal justice system, I challenge you to debate me since I now represent more than 21 of them.
"I challenge you to find the courage to stand on the same stage with me and debate these issues."
The three new accusers who appeared at the news conference included a woman who had been a flight attendant for American Airlines and two former actresses. One of the actresses, Linda Ridgeway Whitedeer, alleged that Cosby sexually assaulted her around 1971 in a room on a movie set.
Ms Allred suggested there were other accusers waiting in the wings.
Asked to comment, Ms Pressley said: "While I do appreciate the temptation that may exist, for some, to turn this matter into a public spectacle, lawyers representing clients resolve matters in court, not debates."
Cosby is due to be questioned under oath on Oct 9 in a case involving accusations that he sexually assaulted another woman, Judy Huth of California, in 1974, when she was 15.
The deposition of Cosby, 78, in that case was allowed to go forward last month when the California Supreme Court denied his petition for review.
NEW YORK TIMES