The defamation suit against Bill Cosby was dismissed Thursday after a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled in favor of the comedian, according to court records.
Renita Hill, one of the more than 50 women who have publicly accused Cosby of assault, filed the civil suit in October claiming that the actor and his lawyer defamed her in the media, court records revealed.
Hill’s claims cite three instances in which Cosby and his legal team said Cosby’s accusers needed to be fact-checked.
In November 2014, shortly after Hill publicly accused him of rape, Cosby and his lawyer told the Washington Post that his female accusers had “unsubstantiated, fantastical stories.”
That same day, Cosby declined to comment to Florida Today on the ”innuendos” being made about him, saying only that “people should fact-check.”
Shortly afterward, the comedian’s wife, Camille Cosby, got involved, writing a letter to the Washington Post, stating that news outlets failed to “vet” her husband’s accusers.
At Thursday’s hearing, Judge Arthur J. Schwab dismissed all three of Hill’s accusations, ruling that the statements she cited “do not support a claim for defamation as defined by Pennsylvania law,” the ruling read, CNN reported.
Schwab then granted Cosby’s motion to dismiss the defamation lawsuit.
The judge called Hill’s claims “pure opinion” and a “far cry from labeling [Hill] (and the other women who have made similar public assertions) as liars or extortionists.”
“None of the facts alleged by [Hill] supported her claims for defamation, false light, or intentional infliction of emotional distress under Pennsylvania law,” Cosby’s lawyers said in a statement released after the ruling. “It is our hope that courts in other jurisdictions with similar matters will respond in like manner.”
Hill’s lawyer announced plans to appeal the decision.
“We are disappointed, but remain committed to seeking justice in this matter,” Hill’s lawyer, George Kontos, Renita told CNN. “We strongly disagree with the judge’s reasoning that Cosby’s statements are constitutionally protected opinions.”
Thursday’s hearing addressed just one out of a multitude of suits against the actor, which range from defamation to sexual assault. Several women have publicly accused Cosby of drugging and then assaulting them.
Last month, a Pennsylvania district attorney charged the comedian with “aggravated indecent assault” for the 2004 reported sexual attack on Andrea Constand.
Cosby’s lawyers have called that case “unjustified.”
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