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Surprise in Bill Cosby lawsuit against supermodel Beverly Johnson

Bill Cosby's Mugshot (Photo credit: Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney)

Bill Cosby’s mug shot (Photo credit: Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney)

A flurry of legal maneuvers have kept comedian Bill Cosby in the news in his ongoing battle against sexual assault allegations. This time, the activity surrounds famed supermodel Beverly Johnson, whom Cosby sued for defamation of character. Johnson claims that the comedian drugged her in an attempted assault in the late 1980s. She has given numerous interviews about the incident, including a well-publicized article in Vanity Fair magazine. Her allegations created further momentum to the charges leveled by dozens of women who have accused Cosby of similar tactics.

Last week, Cosby’s legal team decided to drop the lawsuit against Johnson, claiming that the comedian will be concentrating on his upcoming criminal trial. Cosby is facing up to 10 years in prison for an alleged assault against former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004. Constand claims that Cosby drugged and raped her at his suburban Philadelphia home, a charge that Cosby has vehemently denied. Although an out of court settlement was reached with Constand over the alleged incident, criminal charges were filed by Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele days before the statute of limitations was set to expire.

This past month, Cosby was dealt a legal blow when the court refused to acknowledge a secret deal by former DA Bruce Castor not to prosecute Cosby over the incident.

“I hereby find no basis to grant the relief requested,” stated Montgomery County Court Judge Steven O’Neill in refusing to throw out the case against Cosby. The next hearing date will be March 8, 2016, at which time evidence must be presented to allow the case to go forward.

Cosby’s criminal proceedings will continue as he is faced with having to make a plea deal or face jail time if convicted. Cosby sued Constand in early February for breach of contract, because she gave testimony in the pending criminal case.