Embattled actor Bill Cosby has been granted a delay in his second deposition relating to allegations he sexually assaulted Judy Huth in the 1970s.
Huth is one of more than 50 women who have come forward with decades-old accusations of inappropriate behaviour, drugging and/or rape against Cosby since late 2014.
The statute of limitations has expired in almost all of the cases, preventing the alleged victims from pursuing criminal charges, but Huth claims she was just 15 when the comedian reportedly forced himself upon her during a party at the Playboy Mansion in California in 1974.
She filed a sexual assault lawsuit against Cosby in December, 2014, and he sat for his first round of questioning in October (15). Cosby, 78, was scheduled to be deposed again in February (16), but the session was subsequently postponed and the two sides agreed to sit down for the second deposition on 7 April (16).
However, Huth's lawyer Gloria Allred was then informed Cosby's lawyers no longer agreed on the April date and were seeking an additional postponement until a criminal case in Pennsylvania was resolved. Allred vowed to "oppose their motion", but on Wednesday (30Mar16) a judge sided with The Cosby Show star's lawyers.
"Today, in Huth v. Cosby, the Court granted Mr. Cosby's motion for a stay of his discovery in this case pending the outcome of Commonwealth v. Cosby in Montgomery County, PA," a statement from Cosby's lawyers to TheWrap.com reads. "This includes a stay of Mr. Cosby's continued deposition, previously scheduled to take place April 7th."
"In so doing, the court recognized the dilemma faced by a defendant who must choose between defending civil litigation by providing testimony on one hand and losing the case by asserting the constitutional right to remain silent on the other hand, and rightly issued an order eliminating the necessity of such an untenable choice," it continued.
Despite the legal setback, Allred hopes the trial will move forward next year (17).
"Although the court has ordered Mr. Cosby to appear for his second deposition in our lawsuit, the court did stay the taking of his second deposition while his criminal case is pending," she said. "However, the court has indicated that we will be permitted to come back to court to revisit this issue of when Mr. Cosby's second deposition can take place depending on the status of the criminal case.
"The court has recognised that the criminal case might take a long time to conclude but the court has also indicated that it would like to move our civil lawsuit along and potentially have the trial in our case in 2017."
Cosby is currently fighting an aggravated indecent assault charge for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his Pennsylvania home in 2004.
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