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Bill Cosby Drops Defamation Lawsuit Against Model Beverly Johnson

Cosby's legal team has been focusing on his criminal sexual assault case in Pennsylvania.

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Bill Cosby has dropped his defamation lawsuit against Beverly Johnson on Thursday, but reserved the right to re-file his case in the future.

Johnson — famous for being the first black woman to appear on the cover of AmericanVogue in 1974 — alleged that Cosby drugged her cappuccino in the mid-1980s, but that she was able to stave him off, partly by repeatedly calling him a “motherfucker.” She claimed The Cosby Show star then yanked her out of his home and put her in a taxi that he waved down.

Cosby’s lawsuit claimed Johnson's accusations were false and made to promote her memoir The Face That Changed It All, which contains a chapter devoted to him.

Cosby argued in his lawsuit that Johnson spoke to multiple media outlets — including Vanity Fair, The View, Nightline, Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, and Larry King — to join the campaign to decimate his reputation in an effort to revive her flagging career as a model and public personality.

Cosby's dismissal was granted by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Feb. 19.

Cosby's legal team said they sought the dismissal to allow them to focus on his criminal sexual assault case in Pennsylvania.

"The case has been voluntarily dismissed at this time due to the pendency of the criminal proceedings in Montgomery County, PA, which impede Mr. Cosby's ability to fully participate in litigating the civil case against Ms. Johnson," Cosby's spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. "We fully expect to re-file the complaint against her prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations."

Cosby's pretrial regarding the alleged 2004 attack of Andrea Constand is set for March 8. He is facing charges of sexually assaulting and drugging Constand at his suburban mansion.

More than 40 women have publicly accused Cosby of sexual assault. He has denied the allegations, most of which are beyond the statue of limitations.



Claudia Rosenbaum is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Claudia Rosenbaum at claudia.rosenbaum@buzzfeed.com.

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