from the lost-his-bluster dept
In case you haven't read the news reports, Bill Cosby is having a terrible, no good, very bad few weeks. Ever since Hannibal Buress, a fellow comedian, brought up the fact that Bill Cosby has been accused of sexual assault and rape an incredible number of times, details of the accusations have been making headlines and formerly silent women have come forward with new accusations of their own. The pudding guy, on the other hand, has been remarkably silent on the matter, even as a Netflix special and a scheduled network sitcom are being sidelined as the controversy grows. In the midst of all this, one would think Mr. Cosby would be out there telling his side of the story. He isn't. His lawyers, on the other hand, have been quite active, but most of their work has been in the arena of making sure that nobody's side of the story gets out. In addition to blasting one of his alleged victims, who claimed her publisher nixed part of her book that detailed her allegations against Cosby, that letter to Buzzfeed from Cosby's attorneys makes some barely-veiled threats.
Because you can confirm with indpendent sources the falsity of the claim that my client's lawyers allegedly pressured the publisher to kill the story, it would be extremely reckless to rely on anything Ms. Dicknson has to say about Mr. Cosby since the story about the publisher is false...If you proceed with the false Story when you can check the facts with neutral independent sources who will provide you with facts demonstrating that the Story is false and fabricated, you will be acting recklessly and with Constitutional malice.It goes on and on in that fashion. It's worth noting that the neutral third parties the lawyers are insisting Buzzfeed rely upon are the same publishers that allegedly conspired with Cosby's lawyers to pull the rape allegation from the book. So... yeah, not the most independent of choices, I don't think. In any case, attempting to muscle journalists in any situation probably wouldn't reflect well on their client, but doing so when Cosby is remaining completely silent on the matter, beyond the occasional attempt to intimidate journalists himself, really doesn't look good.
Add to all of this the always laughable claim at the top of the letter sent to Buzzfeed:
CONFIDENTIAL LEGAL NOTICEAnd you can tell that they mean business because they used all caps. Too bad this is a statement equal parts meritless and futile. As Marc Randazza notes, the proper responses to that disclaimer all involve vulgarity.
PUBLICATION OR DISSEMINATION IS PROHIBITED
No. Wrong. Jesus Hello Kitty Christ on a Rocket-Powered Toboggan, NO! It is NOT confidential. You CAN disseminate it.That link he provides is a nice overview of why the confidentiality disclaimer is complete horseshit. In that rundown he highlights the futility of the disclaimer, since it's ultimately reproduced when the recipient goes ahead and publishes the letter anyway. It lets any reader know not only that you're the kind of lawyer who will make a false claim, but also that you don't really want your actions to be known publicly, indicating that there's something underhanded in all of this.
Here is why: I JUST FREAKIN’ GAVE THIS LESSON, WILL YOU PEOPLE PAY ATTENTION????
Which there is. Several women have now come forward at this point with claims of rape against Bill Cosby. You can choose to believe they're all lying if you like, but attempts to muzzle the press aren't going to get Mr. Huxtable very far, I fear.