Cosby's wife calls defamation lawsuit questions 'outrageous'
In this Nov. 6, 2014, file photo, entertainer Bill Cosby, left, and his wife Camille share a laugh as they tell a story about collecting on of the pieces in the upcoming exhibit, Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, March 15, 2016 1:59PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 15, 2016 3:07PM EDT
BOSTON -- Bill Cosby's wife says she shouldn't be subjected to "outrageous questions" about her sex life and other deeply personal topics in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian sexually assaulted them decades ago.
But a lawyer for the women has asked a judge to step in to make sure Camille Cosby answers more questions in the lawsuit. Camille Cosby sat for the first part of a deposition last month; a second session is scheduled for April 18.
A federal judge ruled last month that she had to testify in the deposition but didn't have to answer questions that fell under the Massachusetts marital disqualification rule, which says a spouse doesn't have to testify about private marital conversations.
Her lawyers have since asked a judge to terminate the deposition, or at least limit it, citing "a litany of improper and offensive questions" asked during the first session by the women's attorney, Joseph Cammarata. They said the questions related to Camille Cosby's "own sexual relations, her own political commentary and the death of the Cosbys' son in 1997, among others." Ennis Cosby, 27, was shot and killed during a robbery attempt.
"These questions were irrelevant to the issues in this case and plainly were designed to annoy, embarrass, and oppress the witness," Camille Cosby's lawyers argued in a court filing Friday.
Her lawyers claim Cammarata repeatedly sought irrelevant testimony from Cosby about her opinion of the honesty and integrity of her husband.
Cammarata, however, has asked the court to appoint Magistrate Judge David Hennessy to preside over the remainder of Cosby's deposition to deter what he calls "deposition misconduct" by her and her attorney, Monique Pressley.
Cammarata says Cosby refused to answer dozens of questions based on an overly broad interpretation of the marital disqualification rule, attorney-client privilege and a "non-existent" privilege of privacy.
"Judge Hennessy's presence is necessary to deter Mrs. Cosby from further interfering with her own deposition," Cammarata wrote in a court filing Monday.
The latest squabbling over Camille Cosby's deposition comes as both sides await a ruling from a judge on whether the defamation case will be put on hold while a criminal case against Bill Cosby plays out in Pennsylvania. In that case, Cosby is charged with sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Cosby has pleaded not guilty.
The women in the defamation case claim Cosby tainted their reputations when he allowed his representatives to brand them as liars after they went public with their allegations of sexual assault. They are among approximately 50 women who claim Cosby forced unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby denies their allegations.