The Latest: Cosby's Pennsylvania preliminary hearing on hold

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WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — The latest on a hearing over whether materials gathered in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women against Bill Cosby can be kept out of the public eye (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

Bill Cosby's preliminary hearing on criminal sex assault charges in Pennsylvania has been put on hold until a judge hears arguments on a defense bid to dismiss the case.

A judge will hear the motion to dismiss the case Feb. 2.

Cosby's lawyers call the criminal charges illegal and politically motivated. They say Cosby had a deal that he would never be charged in the 2005 criminal probe and therefore gave a deposition in the accuser's lawsuit.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele says there is no evidence of any such deal.

Steele's office arrested the 78-year-old Cosby last month over a 2004 sexual encounter at his home.

A former Temple University employee says she was drugged and molested by the man she considered a mentor.


12:55 p.m.

Bill Cosby is not expected to be deposed next month in a Massachusetts lawsuit accusing him of defaming seven women who accuse him of sexual assault, but his wife might end up taking his place.

Lawyers for the women suing Cosby want to depose Camille Cosby on Feb. 22, the day her husband had been expected to be deposed.

Both sides on Wednesday discussed holding off on Bill Cosby's deposition as the comedian faces criminal charges in Pennsylvania. They are considering deposing Camille Cosby in February since an earlier date this month had been postponed.

Bill Cosby was charged Dec. 30 with drugging and sexually assaulting a woman inside his home near Philadelphia in 2004. It's the first criminal case brought against him.

The seven women suing Cosby for defamation are among about 50 across the country who have come forward with allegations that Cosby plied them with drugs and alcohol before sexually assaulting them. He denies the accusations.


12:05 p.m.

A judge in the Massachusetts defamation suit filed against Bill Cosby by seven women who accuse him of sexual assault has rejected a proposal by the comedian's lawyers that would have kept a significant amount of material in the case out of the public eye.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David Hennessy said Wednesday that protocol to protect potentially sensitive material like Social Security numbers and bank accounts from becoming public should be put in place in the case.

But he said the "blanket protective order" that Cosby's lawyers proposed wasn't appropriate.

Instead, the judge proposed more limited protections focused on information disclosed in depositions.

Both sides agreed to put the procedure in writing.

A lawyer for the women says he thinks the judge's directions are appropriate.

Cosby's lawyers declined to comment.


10:55 a.m.

A lawyer for Bill Cosby has told a federal court he is considering asking for a postponement in the civil defamation case in Massachusetts in light of the criminal charges the comedian now faces in Pennsylvania.

Marshall Searcy said at Wednesday's hearing in Worcester that the "new situation" has left the defense trying to decide on the best approach to move forward. The hearing was the first in Massachusetts since Cosby was charged Dec. 30 with sexually assaulting and drugging a woman inside his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

A lawyer for the seven women suing Cosby argued that Cosby's scheduled Feb. 22 deposition in the civil case should move forward.

Magistrate David Hennessey didn't immediately rule. He postponed the deposition of Cosby's wife, Camille, that was scheduled this month.


8 a.m.

Bill Cosby's lawyers want materials gathered in a civil defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who claim Cosby sexually assaulted them decades ago kept out of the public eye.

A federal magistrate in Massachusetts will hear arguments Wednesday on a confidentiality agreement proposed by lawyers for Cosby, who denies the allegations.

It calls for documents produced during the pre-trial discovery phase to remain confidential for 14 days. Either side could then request the records be sealed longer. The records would remain sealed until the judge decides on the extension.

Cosby's lawyers say the plaintiffs have sought "invasive and intimate details" about the actor's medical and sexual history.

Lawyers for the women say they have valid reasons for the requests and that sealing documents would violate the public's right to transparent judicial proceedings.


This story has been corrected to show that lawyers in the Massachusetts defamation case are considering postponing Bill Cosby's deposition and deposing Camille Cosby on Feb. 22 instead. U.S. Magistrate Judge David Hennessy did not rule on the possible scheduling change.

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