*Bill Cosby got a small legal victory today after a judge threw out one of the defamation lawsuits against him.
Renita Hill, 48, of Baldwin, Pa., claimed Cosby defamed her when he and his reps denied allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted her and other women. The October lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning she cannot try to amend and re-file it.
Hill went public with her allegations in November 2014 in an interview in which she said she was “emboldened” by other women who had made similar accusations against Cosby. Her lawsuit said she was painted as a “liar” and “extortionist” when the comedian, his wife and his attorney issued blanket denials.
U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab agreed with Cosby’s attorneys that the statements were opinions protected by the First Amendment.
“Even considering these three statements together as a combined, single statement, this newly ‘conjoined’ statement does not lead to an inference that plaintiff is a ‘liar and an extortionist,'” the judge wrote.
Hill’s attorney, George Kontos, promised to appeal saying he strongly disagreed with the judge’s reasoning.
“The basis of his opinion is these are constitutionally protected, ‘pure’ opinions,” Kontos said. “But, looked at as a whole, they contain all sorts of innuendo and undisclosed facts.”