Bill Cosby on Monday sued seven women who have accused him of sexually assaulting them, claiming that they defamed his character and purposefully derailed an upcoming television opportunity.
Cosby is suing Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis, and Angela Leslie — seven of more than 50 women who have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct or assault dating back to the 1960s.
In the suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts on Monday, Cosby denies ever drugging or sexually assaulting any of the seven women listed in his counter claim.
The comedian is suing the women for defamation, tortious interference and intentional infliction of emotional distress "for their malicious, opportunistic, and false and defamatory accusations of sexual misconduct," the suit states.
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The suit alleges that the claims of the women came at an "opportunistic" time when news of "Mr. Cosby's television resurgence" in a new NBC comedy show was announced in 2014. The show has since been canceled.
"Relying solely on unsubstantiated accusations, Counterclaim Defendants have engaged in a campaign to assassinate Mr. Cosby's reputation and character by willfully, maliciously, and falsely accusing Mr. Cosby of multi-decade-old purported sexual misconduct," the suit says. "Counterclaim Defendants' campaign is nothing more than an opportunistic attempt to extract financial gain from him."
Cosby has never been charged with a crime, which is pointed out in the lawsuit.
The actor is seeking punitive damages and compensation for lost business contracts and damage to his career, according to a statement from Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley.
Cosby is also demanding that the women "publicly retract and correct their defamatory statements," Pressley said.
Joe Cammarata, who is representing the women in the case, said the suit was no shock.
"Is anybody surprised?" he asked, arguing that the filing was an attempt to sideline his clients. "Scores of women come forward with accusations of sexual assault and abuse" and Cosby "singles out seven — it sounds a bit like retaliation to me.
"We have been saying from the beginning, we welcome an opportunity to present their case in a courthouse," he told MSNBC. "It's a forum where truth can be tried, and the rules apply fully and fairly to both sides."
Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents several Cosby's accusers, said in a statement that she is not working for any of the women sued in Massachusetts but "I do believe that in general that such a tactic will not deter courageous women from fighting the battle against him."