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Bill Cosby lawyers fight subpoena for wife Camille

Comedian Bill Cosby (left) and his wife Camille. Jacquelyn Martin, File/AP

The wife of embattled comedian Bill Cosby is fighting a subpoena that seven of his alleged sexual assault victims have issued to her in a lawsuit pending in federal court in Springfield.

In a legal document filed on Friday, lawyers for Cosby and his wife, Camille Cosby, 71, wrote that she should not have to give a deposition to the accusers, since she has no first-hand knowledge of their claims and her private communications with her husband are privileged.

“[T]he deposition subpoena to Mrs. Cosby should be recognized for what it is -- nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to pressure [Bill Cosby] in the face of subjecting his wife to the shame and embarrassment of responding to questions about his alleged infidelities and sexual misconduct,” Cosby’s attorneys wrote.

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The women say Cosby, now 78, sexually assaulted them decades ago. They have filed a defamation suit, arguing that his public denials of their allegations, issued through representatives, have disparaged their character.

Cosby struck back on Monday, filing a counterclaim against the seven accusers, alleging they had defamed him.

Dozens of women have accused the television star of sexual assault. He has never been charged with a crime and has repeatedly denied the allegations through his lawyers.

Camille Cosby, who married the entertainer in 1964 when she was 19, defended him last year in a public statement, describing him as “a kind man, a generous man, a funny man, and a wonderful husband, father and friend. He is the man you thought you knew.”

However, Bill Cosby’s testimony in a 2005 deposition in another lawsuit was decidedly at odds with his wholesome public image.

He admitted during the questioning that he obtained quaaludes in the 1970s to give to women he wanted to have sex with, but he denied giving the sedative to anyone without their knowledge. He called quaaludes “the drug that kids, young people were using to party with.”

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In Friday’s court filing, his lawyers wrote that if Camille Cosby is forced to give a deposition, then a judge should protect her “from unnecessary harassment by limiting the scope of her subpoena.”

“There is simply no reason to subject Mrs. Cosby to the harassment of questions regarding the allegations against her husband,” the attorneys wrote, adding that “obtaining any small amount of admissible testimony would subject her to an unfair burden and extreme embarrassment.”

Lawyers for the seven accusers had not responded to Cosby’s filing by Friday evening. A trial date has not been set.


Material from The Associated Press and The New York Times was used in this report.