Bill Cosby’s wife deposed in sexual-assault defamation case

Plaintiffs attorneys, from left, Michael Bressler, Joseph Cammarata and Ira Sherman stand during a news conference, Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, in Springfield, Mass. after a deposition of Camille Cosby, wife of Bill Cosby. Bill Cosby's wife finished hours of answering questions under oath in a Massachusetts defamation lawsuit filed against him by seven accusers. Camille Cosby has publicly stood by her husband despite the dozens of sexual-assault allegations against him. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Bill Cosby’s wife answered questions under oath for lawyers in a Massachusetts defamation lawsuit brought against him by seven women who say he sexually assaulted them decades ago, and she will answer more questions next month.

The deposition by Camille Cosby on Monday is believed to be the first she has given since dozens of women came forward to accuse her husband of sexual assault. The session took place under heavy security at the Springfield Marriott hotel.

She will continue the deposition on March 14. The location hasn’t been determined.

Camille Cosby and her lawyers met with lawyers for the seven women suing her husband for about seven or eight hours. Joseph Cammarata, a lawyer for the women, said she spent about 2½ hours answering questions and the rest of the time was a back and forth between lawyers on what she could or should answer. He said a judge had to be contacted twice.

The women allege Cosby defamed them by branding them liars after they went public with their sexual-assault allegations. Cosby denied the allegations and filed a countersuit.

Cammarata wouldn’t characterize his questions to Camille Cosby, but he said she was in a unique position to know a lot about Bill Cosby because she has been married to him for 52 years and has been his business manager.

“She’s his wife,” he said. “She has the ability to live with him, be with him … understand who he associates with.”

When asked afterward about her demeanor under questioning, Cammarata replied, “She was someone that was reserved, and I got the sense she really didn’t want to be there.”

Her lawyers, who had tried to block the deposition, had no comment.

After numerous women went public with sexual-assault allegations against Bill Cosby, Camille Cosby issued a supportive statement, calling him “a kind man, a generous man, a funny man, and a wonderful husband, father and friend.”

“He is the man you thought you knew,” she said in December 2014.

She also suggested that her husband, not the women, was the party being harmed.

“None of us will ever want to be in the position of attacking a victim,” she said. “But the question should be asked — who is the victim?”

Lawyers for Bill Cosby, 78, and Camille Cosby, 71, have argued that she does not have any information on the accuracy of the women’s claims and that her conversations with him are confidential under the state marital disqualification rule.

The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, about an hour’s drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. They have four children; a fifth is deceased.

The plaintiffs in the defamation case are among about 50 who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct.

In December, Bill Cosby, who played Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” from 1984 to 1992, was charged in Pennsylvania with drugging and sexually assaulting a former Temple University employee at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He has pleaded not guilty. This month, a judge denied a motion by his lawyers to dismiss the charges. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 8.

Cosby’s lawyers have said in court papers the deposition is “nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to pressure (the) defendant in the face of subjecting his wife to the shame and embarrassment of responding to questions about his alleged infidelities and sexual misconduct.”

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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