Save for the blowhard tribunal who sat in judgment of Keshia Knight Pulliam on Celebrity Apprentice, so far no one has come close to staging an actual trial in the case of Bill Cosby’s multiple rape allegations. But that could soon change, as three women have now joined the previously reported defamation lawsuit against Cosby and his representatives, which—after Judy Huth’s assault charge was dropped by the Los Angeles district attorney—remains the only Cosby lawsuit currently in play, and the only chance for this story to proceed beyond these near-daily updates, the curdled Picture Pages that wallpaper the soul and blot out the light.
CNN reports that Linda Traitz and Therese Serignese have now added their names to a lawsuit filed by former attorney Tamara Green, claiming that Cosby’s reps have essentially called them liars—in addition to casting other ugly aspersions on their characters. In Traitz’s case, that includes a letter that was sent around by Cosby’s attorney, Martin Singer, in which he referenced a criminal record that includes suspicion of theft and fraud, and that he asserts should be enough to dismiss Traitz’s story of Cosby offering her drugs and groping her when she was 19. For Green, it was a pair of comments made in the media last year where Cosby’s publicist dismissed her claims of assault as “discredited” and “nothing,” which she says has since “publicly branded” her, ruining her reputation.
While Serignese hasn’t received that specific kind of response ever since telling ABC News that Cosby drugged and raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in 1976, it’s presumed that she shares Traitz and Green’s belief that Cosby’s reps have fostered a general air of disreputability around all his accusers. And their defamation suit could soon add even more plaintiffs to the list, if a recent New York Post report is to be believed. According to the Post’s “multiple sources,” Cosby and Singer have paid out “six figures” to private investigators tasked with finding any info that “might discredit [Cosby’s] alleged victims,” a process the Post describes as a “scorched-earth strategy”—though given the way it makes Cosby look, it might more accurately be described as a “suicide bomb.”
“If you’re going to say to the world that I did this to you, then the world needs to know, ‘What kind of person are you? Who is this person that’s saying it?’” Cosby allegedly told his PR team. “You can’t say that I put something in your coffee, threw you in a cab and then you go on and live a high-profile life, a famous life and you never complain. You mean you never reported it to the police? You never tell anyone?”
That latter remark was specifically targeted at model Beverly Johnson, who recently wrote an essay for Vanity Fair in which she claimed that Cosby gave her a laced cappuccino that left her dazed and nearly incapacitated for two days. And according to the Post’s source, investigating Johnson has already yielded “dirt” in the form of a former boyfriend who says she never told him the story, and in fact “only had good things to say about Cosby.” And after all, why wouldn’t a woman tell her boyfriend about being assaulted by a man she’d agreed to be alone with in the hopes of furthering her career?
That former boyfriend is likely Mark Burk, who was recently named in a letter that was sent from Cosby’s lawyers to CNN (and obtained by TMZ) blasting the network for “one-sided reporting” in its refusal to properly interview him. The missive claims that Cosby’s lawyers specifically supplied Burk to the network to say that Johnson “repeatedly spoke highly” of Cosby while Johnson and Burk were living together in the mid to late 2000s, and that CNN refused to air this quasi-useful, anecdotal information from decades after the fact that Cosby’s reps nevertheless seem to believe “completely contradict her story.”
Somewhat ironically, the letter also says that CNN’s reporters then “tried to attack Mr. Burk and his background,” with Cosby’s reps accusing them of “malicious and reckless conduct.” It concludes by saying CNN “disregards or attacks sources with anything positive to say” about Cosby in his defense, such as… this guy… and some other, unnamed individual.
Meanwhile, similar “dirt” was reportedly found on accuser Katherine McKee, an ex-girlfriend of Sammy Davis Jr. who joined the increasingly innumerable list of Cosby’s accusers just before Christmas, saying Cosby raped her while she was on tour as Davis’ “road wife.” In McKee’s case, investigators reportedly found posts she’d written on the Internet where she “praised Cosby’s stand-up act,” as well as an interview where she said she was “used to lying.” It’s likely that the investigators are referring to a 2010 interview conducted by C&G News (archived here), where McKee said she was “used to lying” about having an African-American father, back in the days when segregation made it difficult for her to find work. And after all, if a woman is willing to lie about being of mixed race during an era when it was dangerous to admit, who knows what else she would lie about for no discernible reason?
Of course, some may question why Cosby’s reps would have to pay anyone six figures to find this kind of damning evidence of accusers not telling their boyfriends everything, lying to avoid persecution, or in some cases, even admitting to finding Cosby funny. And indeed, that’s exactly what Singer did. While he refused to comment directly on its report, he told the Post that the media doesn’t need “private investigators to find out information about the accusers. A simple Google search will obtain the information”—a statement that, again, he made amid a lawsuit regarding his attempts to paint Cosby’s accusers as so self-evidently disreputable as to not be believed.
As a reminder, the general crux of Cosby’s defense is that if he had really raped all of these women, then surely they would have come forward to face this sort of intense public scrutiny and defamation of their character sooner. After all, why wouldn’t they?