PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bill Cosby is using secret court filings to try to bully and intimidate the accuser and other witnesses in his criminal sex-assault case, the woman's lawyers charged in a new court filing.
Cosby filed a sealed lawsuit this month against accuser Andrea Constand the day before a key pretrial hearing in the criminal case. He said the Canadian massage therapist had violated the settlement of their confidential 2005 civil suit when she talked to police, who reopened the criminal case last year.
Cosby, 78, demanded that Constand repay the settlement money along with interest and damages. The amount of the 2006 settlement remains private.
The comedian and actor also sued Constand's mother and lawyers, who were likewise bound by the confidential settlement. The Feb. 1 suit was filed a day before lawyers Dolores Troiani and Bebe Kivitz testified against Cosby in his bid to have the criminal charges thrown out.
"By repeated filings 'under seal,' Cosby has created a shadow court system, in which he is free to make any inconsistent and opposing allegations he chooses without the deterrent of public scrutiny," Troiani wrote in a response filed late Monday to the lawsuit.
She asked a federal judge to void the confidentiality clause in the civil settlement because, she said, Cosby was abusing it.
"Cosby has used the agreement as a means to intimidate witnesses (and) to conduct a media blitz in an attempt to sway public opinion while silencing those most knowledgeable about his claims," Troiani wrote. "Cosby's abuses of the agreement merits its total abrogation."
Cosby lawyer Monique Pressley declined to comment Tuesday on the bullying allegations. She said the defense would file a written response in court.
Cosby's breach-of-contract lawsuit against Constand marks his latest effort to fight back against the dozens of accusations that he drugged and molested women.
He has deployed teams of lawyers across the country to defend lawsuits brought by accusers whose accounts were challenged; to countersue them for defamation; and to defend the felony case filed Dec. 30 over his 2004 encounter with Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home.
His wife, Camille, was forced to give a deposition Monday in a defamation case brought by seven women in Massachusetts. She has at times served as his business manager.
Cosby has been married for 52 years and has been an A-list celebrity for nearly as long. His eponymous sitcom, "The Cosby Show," followed the humorous travails of family life and became the top-ranked show on television during its 1984-1992 run.