Cosby Goes to Court to Keep Settlement Secret — Again

Three women are trying to open up a long sought-after 2005 lawsuit.

The plaintiffs in the federal civil lawsuit filed against Bill Cosby earlier this year are trying once again to pry open the settlement of a 2005 lawsuit in which they were unnamed co-plaintiffs. And once again, the comedian has responded by attempting to keep it all secret, even though a piece of it no longer is.

On Thursday, Cosby’s lawyers filed a motion to quash the subpoena in the federal district court here in Philadelphia. The road leading to this second round of plaintiffs’ subpoenas and Cosby’s motions to quash has a few twists in it. This past June, the plaintiffs in the civil suit — Tamara Green, Therese Serignese and Linda Traitz — subpoenaed materials pertaining to them in a 2005 civil suit filed by alleged Cosby victim Andrea Constand, who included the three women as co-plaintiffs, two of them as Jane Does. Like the current suit, that one alleged Cosby defamed them by essentially calling them liars for alleging that the comedian had drugged and then sexually assaulted them. The 2005 suit was settled out of court, with the settlement terms and all materials relating to the suit sealed.

A transcript of Cosby’s 2005 deposition in the suit was made public in July after a federal judge in Massachusetts granted a request by the Associated Press to unseal discovery motions in the Constand case, which included excerpts from Cosby’s 2005 deposition. The New York Times managed to obtain a copy of the deposition transcript itself at the time, even though the current motion to quash states that the deposition itself was never filed with the court. In the meantime, Cosby has appealed the judge’s decision to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which means the order unsealing documents in the Constand case remains suspended.

What the plaintiffs in the current suit sought this time around was all materials relating to the Constand lawsuit and settlement, not just those in which they are mentioned. That led Cosby’s attorneys at Cozen O’Connor in Center City to seek to quash it not only on the grounds that the settlement remains confidential despite the earlier release of the transcript, but also that it is overbroad.

The motion goes on to state that the federal court in Philadelphia should prohibit disclosure of any records in the settlement until the Massachusetts district court establishes confidentiality protections, or failing that, that Cosby should have the right to review any documents prior to disclosure.

Back in July, Constand’s attorney, Delores Troiani, argued that “the horse galloped from the barn and took all the ponies with him” in her motion to seek injunctive relief for what she called an “unworkable” agreement. 

Last month, Cosby was charged with indecent assault. He has repeatedly denied any allegations of sexual assault.

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