Entertainment

Appeals Court Rejects Defamation Claim Against Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby has won another court case.

The legendary comedian received a favorable ruling Thursday when a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit issued a 20-page decision exonerating him in a defamation case.

The decision by the court affirms the dismissal of a lawsuit that was brought by actress Katherine McKee, who claimed Cosby defamed her when members of his legal team denied sexual assault allegations she lodged against the actor.

Specifically, the lawsuit involved a letter that Cosby’s attorney sent to the New York Daily News in 2014 which demanded a retraction of allegations McKee made in a December 2014 interview regarding conduct she claimed that took place in 1974.

The letter called McKee’s story “malicious” and “lacking in credibility,” and admonished the Daily News for publishing stories of anyone who approached the newspaper with accusations about Cosby.

The letter also criticized the media as a whole for ignoring information about various women whose stories about Cosby were contradicted by their own conduct or statements, as well as evidence demonstrating that their allegations were “impossible,” argued Cosby’s lawyer Alan A. Greenberg of the Los Angeles-based firm, Greenberg Gross LLP.

Further, the letter to the Daily News pointed out that some of the accusers have criminal backgrounds, including arrests for lying to police and other crimes involving dishonesty, Greenberg told the court.

“Mr. Cosby filed a motion to dismiss the case on the basis that the letter did not constitute defamation,” he said.

The trial court had previously granted Cosby’s motion for dismissal, but McKee appealed.

However, in affirming the dismissal, the appellate court confirmed that the letter wasn’t defamatory because it included facts reflecting the author’s conclusion that McKee wasn’t credible.

The latest dismissal counts among the many that Cosby has earned since allegations of sexual misconduct against him surfaced in 2014. In April, Cosby faces a retrial of the only criminal case against him in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

In June, a jury deadlocked on all three counts of sexual assault lodged against Cosby from a 2004 incident between him and former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, who claims the comedian drugged and fondled her at his home 13 years ago.

Cosby maintains his innocence and has rejected plea deals presented by prosecutors.

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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