Cosby Asks Philly Judge to Keep Docs Confidential in Sex Assault Case
Most of the never-ending saga of the Bill Cosby sex crimes allegations has unfolded outside of Philadelphia. But on Tuesday, Cosby’s lawyers at prestigious Center City law firm Cozen O’Connor took to Philadelphia’s federal courthouse to stop three of his accusers from getting their hands on a confidential settlement agreement he entered into in 2006.
Back then, Cosby settled a civil case brought by Andrea Constand, a former director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University. Constand alleged in her lawsuit that Cosby drugged and raped her at his Cheltenham home in 2004, when she was 30, and said that she was prepared to bring forward 13 other women with similar claims. At the time, those women were identified only as Jane Does. The terms of the settlement were confidential, a common practice in civil litigation, and Cosby’s problem largely faded from view.
Nearly a decade later, that problem has returned with a vengeance, with the number of women accusing Cosby of sexual misconduct or worse at more than 40.
Three of those women — Tamara Green, Therese Serignese and Linda Traitz — filed a federal lawsuit in Massachusetts months ago, claiming that Cosby defamed them by calling the women liars through statements made by his legal and public relations teams. And on May 28th, their Washington D.C.-based attorney subpoenaed the settlement agreement and any other relevant documents from Constand’s attorney, Dolores Troiani of Devon. Green and Serignese are now known to be two of the Jane Does from Constand’s suit.
On Tuesday, Cosby’s Philadelphia attorney, George Gowen, filed a motion to quash that subpoena, asking federal judge John Padova to put a stop to the production of the materials requested in it.
Gowen argues that the women haven’t given the Massachusetts court a good reason to strip the agreement of its confidentiality and that the subpoena is premature, since Cosby’s attorneys in Massachusetts have filed a motion to dismiss the entire case there and, says Gowen, that matter should be decided before anything else happens. The motion to quash also suggests that if the documents are produced for the Massachusetts litigation, they should be filed under seal, making them unavailable for public perusal.
So what’s in that settlement agreement and how much more damage could it possibly do to Cosby? One can only imagine.
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