Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Craig Kaplan said he
granted the delay in recognition that Cosby's constitutional
prerogative to remain silent in the face of criminal prosecution
could limit his ability to answer questions under oath in civil
Kaplan also put on hold any further deposition of Judy Huth, who
brought the civil lawsuit alleging that Cosby plied her with
alcohol and molested her in 1974 at the Playboy Mansion in Los
Angeles when she was 15.
Huth, in her complaint, accuses Cosby of putting his hand down
her pants and then "taking her hand in his hand and performing a
sex act on himself without her consent."
Wednesday's ruling could portend similar delays in several other
lawsuits accusing the entertainer of sexual misconduct.
"There's a great risk that all these lawsuits are going to be
put off for an indefinite period of time, specifically until the
criminal case ends," former Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney
Dmitry Gorin told Reuters.
Cosby, 78, who is free on bail in the Pennsylvania case, had
been scheduled to submit to questioning under oath from Huth's
attorney, Gloria Allred, on April 7. She previously deposed him
The judge ruled that depositions of other witnesses in the case
could proceed, and Allred said she planned to take a sworn
statement from Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner.
More than 50 women have come forward over the past two years to
accuse Cosby of rape and other sexual wrongdoing. Most involve
encounters said to have occurred a decade ago or more, exceeding
the statute of limitations for legal action.
The comedian, who personified the model American family man in
his long-running hit television series "The Cosby Show," has
acknowledged marital infidelity but denied engaging in
non-consensual sexual behavior.
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At least nine women - eight of them in Massachusetts - are currently
suing Cosby for defamation, claiming they were smeared by his public
assertions that they fabricated their stories.
Huth filed her suit under a California law allowing victims of
childhood abuse to sue beyond the statute of limitations if, within
the last three years, they have realized they suffered from
psychological damage that had previously been repressed.
Cosby's attorneys argued that was not the case for Huth because "she
tried to sell her story to the tabloids nearly a decade ago." The
judge has set an April 14 hearing to consider those arguments.
The Pennsylvania case, the only criminal prosecution of Cosby, stems
from the alleged sexual assault of Andrea Constand, a former
basketball coach at his alma mater, Temple University. Cosby's
lawyers have sought dismissal of the case. Constand settled a civil
suit against Cosby for an undisclosed sum in 2006.
Earlier this week, Cosby lost his bid to throw out a defamation
lawsuit against himself and his former lawyer brought by supermodel
Janice Dickinson, clearing the way for a trial.
The scandal has left Cosby's career in tatters, with various TV
projects and live shows canceled as allegations mounted. Cosby also
stepped down from Temple's board of trustees, and there have been
calls to revoke his Presidential Medal of Freedom.
(Additional reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy and Steve Gorman; Editing by
Sara Catania, Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)
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