Former teen-actress asks US court to revive Cosby lawsuit
PHILADELPHIA >> A former teen-actress who accuses Bill Cosby of molesting her asked a federal appeals court Friday in Philadelphia to revive her defamation lawsuit against the comedian.
Renita Hill, of Pittsburgh, said she was defamed when Cosby, his wife and his then-lawyer questioned abuse accusations raised in late 2014 by Hill and other women. Cosby lawyer Martin Singer called the new accounts "fantastical," "ridiculous," "illogical" and beyond "absurd."
A federal court in Massachusetts has allowed seven women to sue Cosby for defamation over the statement, but a Pittsburgh judge dismissed Hill's lawsuit.
Cosby has a home in Shelburne, Mass.
In oral arguments Friday, the appeals court judges peppered her lawyer with questions about whether the comments amounted to defamation. They did not indicate when they would rule.
Los Angeles lawyer Angela C. Agrusa, defending Cosby, said that Singer's statement was "pure opinion" that, if anything, attacked the press for printing the accusations.
Hill's lawyer, George M. Kontos, of Pittsburgh, said Singer unfairly implied the women's claims had been investigated and proven untrue.
"Over and over again, we have refuted these new, unsubstantiated stories with documentary evidence," Singer wrote in the statement. "When will it end?"
The statement came days after The Washington Post printed a Nov. 13, 2014, opinion piece by Cosby accuser Barbara Bowman, and a day after Hill first told her account to a Pittsburgh radio station.
Hill accuses Cosby of drugging and sexually molesting her, starting when she was 16, after they met on the TV show, "Picture Pages," in 1983. The Associated Press does not generally identify people who say they are victims of sexual abuse, but Hill has said she wants to be identified.
Cosby, now 79, is awaiting trial in June on charges he drugged and molested a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.
The long-married Cosby has called his sexual encounters with other women consensual.
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