The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined review of a case brought by Bill Cosby accuser Kathrine McKee, who alleged being defamed when Cosby’s attorney characterized her story of being raped four decades ago by the comedian as a fabricated lie.
The decision comes five months after Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for aggravated indecent assault.
Before finally weighing in on McKee’s case, the justices deferred consideration nearly a dozen times over the course of several months.
The question presented in McKee’s petition was whether an individual becomes a public figure by making an accusation of being victimized.
In defamation law, plaintiffs need to demonstrate actual malice on the part of public figure defendants in order to prevail on a defamation claim.
Applied here, that would mean the statement put out by Cosby’s ex-attorney Marty Singer in reaction to press reports about her alleged rape was knowingly false or recklessly disregarded the truth, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In 2017, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that McKee was a public figure and that she couldn’t demonstrate actual malice.
McKee is a former L.A. morning talk show host who alleges Cosby raped her in 1974 in a Detroit hotel room while she was on tour with Sammy Davis Jr., her boyfriend at the time.
Cosby has consistently denied all the allegations against him.
“I am grateful to the United States Supreme Court and to the federal courts in Massachusetts for upholding the law in this case. I thank each of the Justices for their ruling, which gives me renewed hope that the fair and impartial courts in this country will go on to deliver justice,” Cosby said in a statement released through his publicist on Tuesday.
“This is the very reason, why I … have no remorse because I am Innocent and will continue to channel the strength of the great political prisoners,” Cosby said. “Finally the truth is being allowed to be heard and read by the public.”