The last year has not been kind to Bill Cosby as allegation after allegation of sexual assault—more than 50 in all—flooded the Internet and soaked up airwaves. The result was a stunning fall from grace for the one-time cultural icon and throughout the barrage Cosby remained largely quiet as accusations whirled, leaving the rebuttals to his lawyers. The comedian has managed to stay out of court because the alleged incidents exceeded the statute of limitations for such crimes. Some of the accusers adopted a different legal approach, suing Cosby for defamation in response to his legal team’s depiction of the women as opportunists lying to extort money from the comedian. On Monday, Cosby himself countersued seven of those women also claiming he had been defamed.
Cosby filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts against Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis, and Angela Leslie. Here’s more on the suit from NBC News:
The comedian is suing the women for defamation, tortious interference and intentional infliction of emotional distress “for their malicious, opportunistic, and false and defamatory accusations of sexual misconduct,” the suit states. The suit alleges that the claims of the women came at an “opportunistic” time when news of “Mr. Cosby’s television resurgence” in a new NBC comedy show was announced in 2014. The show has since been canceled. “Relying solely on unsubstantiated accusations, Counterclaim Defendants have engaged in a campaign to assassinate Mr. Cosby’s reputation and character by willfully, maliciously, and falsely accusing Mr. Cosby of multi-decade-old purported sexual misconduct,” the suit says. “Counterclaim Defendants’ campaign is nothing more than an opportunistic attempt to extract financial gain from him.”
Cosby’s lawyer, Monique Pressley, released a statement Monday saying Cosby is seeking punitive damages and compensation for the financial hit Cosby has taken, as well as a public retraction and correction from the women.