TV comedian Bill Cosby is claiming defamation in a lawsuit filed on Monday 14 December against seven of his accusers. The 78-year-old is seeking unspecified monetary damages and claims the women lied about him for financial gain and had inflected emotional distress.
"Mr Cosby states plainly that he neither drugged nor sexually assaulted the defendants and that each defendant has maliciously and knowingly published multiple false statements and accusations from Fall 2014 through the current day in an effort to cause damage to Mr Cosby's reputation and to extract financial gains," Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley told USA Today.
The suit was filed in a federal court and aimed at Massachusetts accusers Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis and Angela Leslie. Pressley's statement adds that the "false...opportunistic" allegations have caused Cosby to suffer loss of jobs and "mortification," according to USA Today.
In total, Cosby has been accused by more than 40 women with allegations of sexual assault, having given them drugs and alcohol. The entertainer has repeatedly denied the accusations and has never been criminally charged.
Cosby's defamation suit was submitted after a Massachusetts federal judge blocked a bid to throw out their suit against him in October.
"This was expected," said Joseph Cammarata, who represents the seven women named in the Massachusetts suit. "It's a page out of a defence lawyer's playbook. It's curious to me how there can be scores of other ladies who have come out, and yet Mr Cosby has singled out seven of them to bring a claim against. It's seems a bit retaliatory to me."
Attorney Gloria Allred, who is one of six lawyers handling civil lawsuits against Cosby said: "Bill Cosby appears to be going to war against women who have sued him in Massachusetts and who allege that he has victimised them.
"Although I do not represent the women in that case, I do believe that in general such a tactic will not deter courageous women from fighting the battle against him."
Allred's daughter, lawyer Lisa Bloom represents former model Janice Dickinson, who is seeking a civil suit against Cosby for defamation. Dickinson has alleged that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in 1982. Cosby has denied the charge.
"At least this ensures that the accusers will get the day in court they have been seeking," Bloom said. Dickinson is awaiting a decision by the court of appeals on whether Cosby will be deposed in her case.
Boston University is the latest school to revoke an honorary degree it had awarded to Cosby. "Mr Cosby's admitted conduct, which the University learned about only after awarding him the degree, demonstrates that his character fails to reflect the integrity and virtues that the University values and esteems in members of its community, and in those persons the University holds up for this particular honour," the school said in a statement.