Bill Cosby asks Supreme Court to reject review of #MeToo defamation suit
On Monday Bill Cosby found himself waging yet another legal battle as he asked the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out a defamation lawsuit from a former actress who said he raped her and claims Cosby’s legal team dragged her name through the mud.
Kathrine McKee, was one of many women to report claims of sexual harassment and abuse by Cosby over the years. McKee claims Cosby raped her in a Michigan hotel room in the 70s, and first told the Daily News her story back in 2014.
McKee sued Cosby for defamation in federal court, saying that his lawyer ruined her name by calling her a liar, according to the Hollywood Reporter. However, the district court threw out the lawsuit and the First Circuit later upheld that dismissal.
But on April 19, McKee’s team asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on the matter.
In her petition, McKee asked “whether a victim of sexual misconduct who merely publicly states that she was victimized (i.e., #metoo) has thrust herself to the forefront of a public debate in an attempt to influence the outcome, thereby becoming a limited-purpose public figure who loses her right to recover for defamation absent a showing of actual malice by clear and convincing evidence.”
In response, Cosby’s team has argued that the court should reject McKee’s #MeToo case because she’s a former actress who is using her celebrity status to gain access to media news outlets to share her story. Her lawyer said that McKee qualifies as a “limited-purpose public figure” because she “voluntarily and actively” sought out the media during a public controversy.
“The First Circuit, consistent with this Court’s decisions and those of other courts of appeals, properly determined that Ms. McKee is a limited purpose public figure. The petition should therefore be denied,” Cosby’s Monday filing stated.
The Supreme Court hasn’t decided yet if it will review.
Cosby is still awaiting sentencing after being found guilty in the Andrea Constand case.
Each of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault comes with a 5-10 year possible sentence and a $25,000 fine.
During the three-week trial, which began April 9, prosecutors presented a slew of witnesses to convince the jury that 79-year old Cosby is a serial predator who has has sexually assaulted countless women over the years, including Andrea Constand.
Cosby was on trial for three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Constand, stemming from a 2004 encounter. The comedian acknowledges sexual contact took place, but says their interaction was consensual.
Constand maintained that Cosby drugged her and sexually assaulted her. Prosecutors brought in five women to testify who have brought claims against Cosby similar to Constand’s.
The jury, made up of seven men and five women, came to a decision after the first trial ended in a deadlocked jury. Prosecutors decided to retry him.