The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected Bill Cosby’s bid to avoid a defamation lawsuit brought by a well-known former model who said the comedian sought to destroy her reputation after she publicly accused him of rape.
The justices, acting six days after Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison in Pennsylvania for a 2004 sexual assault involving another woman, declined to hear his appeal of a lower court ruling allowing the lawsuit brought by Janice Dickinson in state court in California to proceed.
The justices took their action in the Cosby case against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement opposing sexual assault and harassment at the same time that President Donald Trump’s nominee for a vacancy on the high court, Brett Kavanaugh, has denied allegations of his own sexual misconduct.
The court’s rejection of the case came on the first day of its new term, which runs through June.
Dickinson gave a national television interview in 2014 accusing Cosby of raping her in 1982. In response, Cosby’s lawyer Martin Singer sent letters to other media outlets warning them not to publish Dickinson’s “defamatory fabrication,” adding that she was “seeking publicity to bolster her fading career.”
A subsequent news release from Cosby’s team said Dickinson was lying. Singer also sent out statements denying similar accusations by other women against Cosby.
Dickinson sued for defamation, claiming the letter and news release aimed to destroy her reputation. Cosby sought to toss those claims, saying Dickinson was trying to stifle his free speech rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
Cosby was sentenced on Sept. 25 for his conviction on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for the drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand, a former Temple University administrator, at his Philadelphia home in 2004.
More than 50 women in recent years have accused Cosby, who starred in the popular 1980s sitcom “The Cosby Show,” of assault and using drugs to incapacitate them.
A California court of appeals last November rejected Cosby’s argument in the Dickinson dispute, allowing the case to proceed.
Urging the Supreme Court to take the case, Cosby had noted that in two separate cases federal appeals courts held that Singer’s statements responding to accusers were constitutionally protected speech. Cosby said in a court filing that the decision he was challenging could dissuade attorneys from asserting their clients’ innocence.
Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham
WATCH: Saturday Night Live airs Christmas special — that’s just one giant dig at the Electoral College
NBC's "Saturday Night Live" aired an opening skit that was just one giant attack on the electoral college.
A snowman introduced the segment, saying that we could look in on the holiday table conversation thanks to hacked Nest cams.
The skit featured a house in San Francisco, California, a second in Charleston, South Carolina and a third in Atlanta, Georgia.
Each dinner table debated impeachment, and the differences between President Donald Trump and his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
But then the snowman said that none of their votes matter.
"They'll debate the issues all year long, but then it all comes down to 1,000 people in Wisconsin who won't even think about the election until the morning of," the snowman said. "And that's the magic of the Electoral College."
Georgia mayor being recalled for racism resigns from office: report
Hoschton Mayor Theresa Kenerly resigned in a special city council meeting held on Saturday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Saturday.
"The resignation came just days after Councilman Jim Cleveland resigned saying he‘d rather leave office on his own terms than face voters in a recall election next month," the newspaper reported. "Both resignations follow an AJC investigation launched seven months ago into claims that an African American candidate for city administrator was sidetracked by Mayor Theresa Kenerly because of his race."
Nine 2020 Democrats unite to demand DNC Chair Tom Perez scrap debate rules: report
The Democratic National Committee is facing a revolt for the party's 2020 presidential candidates for its restrictive debate rules.
"Nine Democratic presidential candidates, including the party's front-runners, are urging the Democratic National Committee to toss out the current polling and fundraising rules used to determine who appears in televised debates and reopen the exchanges to better reflect the historic diversity of the current field. The candidates say the rules exclude diverse candidates in the field from participating," CBS News reported Saturday evening.