Wednesday, April 8, 2020
CLOSE
 
Judge says Cosby wife must give deposition, but with limits
By Associated Press
Published February 12, 2016
Camille Cosby, right, looks on as Bill Cosby speaks during a news conference about the upcoming exhibit, Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art, in Washington on Nov. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Camille Cosby, right, looks on as Bill Cosby speaks during a news conference about the upcoming exhibit, Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, in Washington on Nov. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

BOSTON (AP) — A federal judge in Massachusetts ruled Thursday that Bill Cosby’s wife must give a deposition in a defamation lawsuit against the comedian, but said she can refuse to answer questions about private marital conversations.

In the lawsuit, seven women claim Cosby defamed them by branding them as liars after they went public with accusations that he sexually assaulted them decades ago.

A lawyer for the women has sought to compel Camille Cosby to give a deposition. Last month, a magistrate judge rejected Cosby’s bid to quash the deposition subpoena.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Mark Mastroianni upheld the magistrate’s ruling, but said Camille Cosby may refuse to answer questions that call for testimony prohibited by the Massachusetts marital disqualification rule. The rule generally prohibits spouses from testifying about private marital conversations.

The women’s lawyer, Joseph Cammarata, hoped to depose Camille Cosby on Feb. 22, but it was not immediately clear if that date is firm.

Camille Cosby’s lawyers praised the ruling. In a statement, they said the ruling affirms “the confidential nature of and protection afforded to marital communications.”

Cammarata has argued that since Camille Cosby has been married to Cosby for 52 years and was also his business manager, she could have useful information.

But since the judge ruled that she can refuse to answer questions about her private conversations with her husband, it is now unclear how much information she will supply.

In his ruling, Mastroianni said the right to refuse to answer certain deposition questions does not entitle someone to refuse to appear for a deposition altogether. The judge also said that the marital disqualification rule only applies to private conversations and there are exceptions, including when a third party was present and heard the conversation, if both spouses were jointly engaged in criminal activity or if the communication was written.

“Accordingly, in light of the relatively narrow scope of the rule, the existence of various exceptions, and (Camille Cosby’s) unique role in Defendant’s life for over fifty years, she may possess a good deal of relevant, non-protected information which can be uncovered in a deposition,” Mastroianni wrote.

The seven women suing Cosby for defamation are among about 50 women who have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct. He has denied their allegations.

Cosby, 78, was charged in December in Pennsylvania with drugging and sexually assaulting a former Temple University athletic department employee at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He has pleaded not guilty. A judge last week denied a motion by Cosby’s lawyers to dismiss the charges and scheduled a preliminary hearing for March 8.

Categories: Entertainment | News (Entertainment)
Tags: | | | |

Get the Los Angeles Sentinel App!



Since 1933 The Voice of Our Community Speaking for Itself.
87 Years of LA Sentinel.
Black News.
SEARCH:    
Videos


Photo of the Day

Events

LA Sentinel
in your pocket:





TOS-Cookbook-Web

LA Watts Times

© 2020 Los Angeles Sentinel All Rights Reserved • A Bakewell Media Publication

AboutArchivesContact UsCorrections & MisprintsMedia Kit

Terms of ServicePrivacy Policy

LA Watts TimesTaste of Soul

Close / I'm already on the list

Subscribe Today!

Don't be limited anymore! Subscribe Now »

** Existing subscribers, please Login / Register for Digital »

Subscribe to The Los Angeles Sentinel for only $5.99 $3.99 per month, with 1 month free!

Relax in comfort each week as you read the printed newspaper on your own time, delivered weekly to your home or office. This subscription also includes UNLIMITED DIGITAL ACCESS for all of your devices. Includes FREE shipping! One easy payment of $3.99/month gets you:

Subscribe Now »