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Lawyers for disgraced comedian Bill Cosby will return to federal court in Massachusetts in October for a status conference on a lawsuit brought by several women who claim the entertainer sexually assaulted and defamed them.

The hearing in the civil action is slated for Oct. 9 in US District Court in Springfield, according to a scheduling notice entered Thursday in the closely watched case.

By the time the hearing comes around, the 80-year-old Cosby could be in prison. He’s awaiting sentencing for his April conviction on charges of sexually assaulting a woman in Pennsylvania in 2004. Sentencing is scheduled for late September.

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In the Springfield lawsuit, multiple women contend that Cosby sexually assaulted them and later defamed them through his representatives by calling them liars when they went public with their claims.

Dozens of women have stepped forward in recent years to accuse the once-beloved actor of drugging, raping, and assaulting them during encounters spanning decades.

Cosby has steadfastly denied wrongdoing and earlier this month posted a video clip on his Twitter account of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, voicing support for the now-convicted sex offender.

“You know how easy it is for men in power to have sex with you,” Farrakhan tells a largely female audience in the clip. “Some of you will resist, but most women who want to move up in the world, Bill Cosby don’t have to offer you no quaaludes.”

Cosby has admitted to giving quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with and claimed in a separate civil deposition that “quaaludes happen to be the drug that kids, young people were using to party with and there were times when I wanted to have them just in case.”


Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.

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