LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bill Cosby will not have to answer more questions under oath in a lawsuit from a woman who says the comedian forced her into a sex act at the Playboy Mansion, giving him time to resolve a separate criminal case, a judge ruled Wednesday.
A temporary delay in Cosby’s sworn testimony will protect the comedian’s rights as he faces sexual assault charges in Pennsylvania, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig D. Karlan said. But his ruling will allow attorneys to conduct depositions of other potential witnesses in the California case, including Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.
The ruling comes in a sexual battery lawsuit by Riverside County resident Judy Huth, who accuses Cosby of forcing her to perform a sex act on him in a bedroom of the mansion around 1974 when she was 15.
Cosby gave his first sworn testimony in the case last year, but a judge has ordered him to answer additional questions from Huth’s attorney, Gloria Allred.
Attorneys for Cosby sought a delay in the lawsuit amid the Pennsylvania case, which is on hold while the 78-year-old appeals a ruling.
“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,” Cosby attorney Monique Pressley wrote in a statement.
Karlan ruled that Huth also would not be required to give a deposition during the temporary delay. The judge said he is concerned about the case being put on hold indefinitely.
“I don’t want this case to be here three, four, five years from now. That’s not justice,” Karlan said.
Another Cosby attorney, Christopher Tayback, said the comedian is trying to resolve the Pennsylvania case quickly.
“My hope is in six months, he’s exonerated,” Tayback said.
Cosby’s former attorney has vehemently denied Huth’s accusations, accusing her former lawyer of attempting to extort Cosby for $250,000 before suing.
Allred mentioned Hefner’s name as a potential witness after thanking the judge for allowing attorneys to seek additional evidence. Allred said she and her partner planned to take the depositions of other women who say they were abused by Cosby when they were underage.
Allred praised Wednesday’s ruling, saying another woman who accused Cosby of sexual abuse already has given testimony. The woman has never been publicly identified, Allred said.
The attorney said she also plans to take the deposition of Renita Hill, a Pittsburgh-area woman who says Cosby molested her several times after they met on the TV show “Picture Pages” in 1983.
Hill claims the abuse spanned about four years, starting when she was 16. She said Cosby helped pay for her college tuition and would fly her to cities where he was performing until she cut off contact.
Hill sued the comedian for defamation, but the case was dismissed.
Dozens of women have accused Cosby of sexual abuse, but the statutes of limitations in most instances have passed.
A judge rejected a motion by Cosby’s lawyers on Tuesday to dismiss a defamation lawsuit by model Janice Dickinson. Cosby’s lawyers say they believe the case should be dismissed and are considering an appeal.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP .