Court documents filed Friday (Apr 5) show that convicted sex offender Bill Cosby settled a federal defamation lawsuit brought by seven women who said the former actor and comedian sexually assaulted them and wrongly called them liars when they went public with their charges years later.
The settlement ends a court fight that predates the 81-year-old's conviction a year ago for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University administrator, in 2004. Cosby is currently serving a three- to 10-year prison sentence for that crime, though his lawyers plan an appeal.
"Each Plaintiff is satisfied with the settlement," attorneys for Cosby said in papers filed in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts, near one of Cosby's homes. They did not disclose the terms of the agreement.
However in a report by AP, Cosby’s spokesman, Andrew Wyatt said that Cosby did not authorize the settlement reached between the women and American International Group Inc., and “vehemently denies the allegations”.
“Mr. Cosby did not settle any cases with anyone. He is not paying anything to anyone, and he is still pursuing his counterclaims. AIG (American International Group Inc.) decided to settle these cases, without the knowledge, permission and/or consent of Mr. Cosby,” Wyatt said in a statement.
Cosby was the first celebrity convicted of sexual misconduct since the rise of the #MeToo movement, which cast a harsh light on widespread patterns of sexual harassment or abuse in multiple spheres of American life and ended the careers of dozens of powerful men in American media, politics and business.
The settlement covers seven of some 50 women who emerged over the past decade to level sex abuse charges against the once-beloved star of The Cosby Show, who built a decades-long career on a family-friendly style of comedy.
All the allegations but Constand's were too old to be the subject of criminal prosecution, which prompted the seven women to sue for defamation when Cosby accused them of lying.
The defamation suit was filed in December 2014. One of the seven, Louisa Moritz, an actress best known for appearing in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," died in January at age 72.
The other plaintiffs were Barbara Bowman, who said she was a 17-year-old aspiring actress when she was assaulted in 1985; Tamara Green, who said she was a young model in the early 1970s when she was attacked; actress Angela Leslie, who said her attack took place in 1992; Therese Serignese, now a registered nurse who said she was 19 when she was attacked in 1976; Joan Tarshis, who said she was 19 at the time of her attack in 1969; and Linda Traitz, who said she was an 18-year-old waitress when she became a victim in 1969.
Cosby has denied the accusations and maintained his innocence.