Los Angeles — Janice Dickinson's defamation lawsuit against Bill Cosby should move forward, a judge ruled on Tuesday, saying a trial can determine the truthfulness of the model's claims that the comedian raped her in 1982.
A jury can decide the credibility of Dickinson's allegations and whether a statement by Cosby's former lawyer branding her a liar was defamatory, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Debre Katz Weintraub said.
The judge said in her ruling that she was not assessing the credibility of either Dickinson or Cosby. It also allows for the possibility that Dickinson could recoup punitive damages if she wins the case.
Dickinson sued Cosby in May after he denied her claims that he drugged and raped her in Lake Tahoe in 1982. She says she tried to include the story in a 2002 memoir, No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World's First Supermodel, but her publisher refused.
Cosby's attorneys tried to get the suit dismissed, arguing Dickinson's story about her interactions with Cosby had changed over the years. His legal team will have several other opportunities to challenge the case before it goes to trial, whose date has not been set.
Cosby's lawyer Monique Pressley said in a statement that they are considering an appeal and believe Dickinson's lawsuit should be completely thrown out.
Dickinson's suit says she felt victimised again after the comedian's former lawyer, Marty Singer, denied the allegations.
Letters that Singer sent to reporters threatening to sue if they published Dickinson's claims are protected legal communications and cannot be used at trial, Weintraub also ruled.
The judge said her review of the evidence so far shows that while Singer offered an opinion on Dickinson's credibility based on certain facts, there is no indication he investigated whether the rape actually occurred.
"I will not go down," Dickinson told reporters after the ruling.
"I want Bill Cosby in court," she said. "I want him to stand under oath."
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