Comedian Bill Cosby is asking the nation’s high court to weigh in on supermodel Janice Dickinson’s defamation case, arguing it raises important free speech concerns.
Dickinson claimed that Cosby drugged and raped her in Lake Tahoe in 1982, testifying at his recent trial that he gave her a pill he claimed would ease her menstrual cramps which instead left her immobilized and unable to fight off the assault.
Cosby’s former attorney, Martin Singer, denied those allegations and pointed to a contradiction between her current account and the one she provided in her own 2002 autobiography, calling it “fabricated and is an outrageous defamatory.”
Dickinson sued both Singer and Cosby for defamation, saying they had damaged her reputation by branding her a liar.
The comedian tried to get the complaint dismissed under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, arguing that the defamation suit was intended to silence him. The California Court of Appeal sided with Dickinson, finding that the remarks weren’t protected free speech but rather subject to a defamation suit.
Cosby’s attorney is preparing to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that an attorney should be allowed to deny allegations on behalf of their clients without fearing legal action.
James has asked the high court for an extension, until July 12, to maker her legal case for why the high court should hear an appeal and clarify the law.