A federal judge in Pennsylvania granted Bill Cosby’s motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit pending against him. Renita Hill, one of more than 50 women who have publicly accused the comedian of sexual assault filed a lawsuit in October of last year alleging that the actor and his lawyer defamed her. Judge Arthur J. Schwab dismissed the claims against Cosby ruling that the statements “do not support a claim for defamation as defined by Pennsylvania law.”
Hill’s claims of defamation stemmed from three instances:
- When Cosby and his lawyer said that the accusers needed to be “fact-checked.”
- In November of 2014, following Hill’s public accusation against Cosby, his lawyer said to the Washington Post that the women had “unsubstantiated, fantastical stories.” Cosby declined to respond to the “innuendos” made against him when asked for comment by Florida Today.
- When the comedian’s wife, Camille, then wrote a letter to the Washington Post claiming that the news organization failed to “vet” the accusers.
In the ruling, Judge Schwab found no grounds for defamation, writing that the three instances were “pure opinion” and a “far cry from labeling [Hill] 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 after the ruling. “It is our hope that courts in other jurisdictions with similar matters will respond in like manner.”
Hill intends to appeal. “We are disappointed, but remain committed to seeking justice in this matter. We strongly disagree with the judge’s reasoning that Cosby’s statements are constitutionally protected opinions,” George Kontos, Renita Hill’s lawyer, told CNN.
Amongst all of the lawsuits and public accusations against Cosby of sexual assault, including drugging women to rape them, he is also facing aggravated indecent assault for an alleged 2004 attack on Andrea Constand in Pennsylvania.