Saturday, May 18, 2024

Bill Cosby Accuser Drops Defamation Lawsuit, But Still ‘In Solidarity’ With Alleged Victims

Kristina Ruehli
Kristina Ruehli

*A 72-year-old New Hampshire woman who says Bill Cosby raped her in 1965 dropped her civil defamation lawsuit against him on Friday, one day after a federal judge had allowed the case to move forward, reports The AP.

Kristina Ruehli’s lawyer said her client decided not to pursue the case because things have changed since she filed suit in November. Cosby now faces criminal prosecution in Pennsylvania and similar civil actions are pending in Massachusetts and elsewhere by dozens of other accusers.

“Ms. Ruehli is 72 and her husband just celebrated his 79th birthday,” Megan Deluhery, Ruehli’s lawyer, said. “She will watch the pending cases proceed in solidarity with other survivors, those known and unknown, while returning her focus, if she can, on her daily life and trying to put behind her all the pain this ordeal has caused her.”

Like other alleged victims seeking civil judgments against Cosby, Ruehli argued that Cosby falsely accused her of lying and tarnished her reputation when she came forward in 2014 to say he raped her.

Ruehli said in her lawsuit that she met Cosby while working as a secretary at a Los Angeles talent agency when she was 22 years old.

She said Cosby invited her and others to a party at his home. Ruehli, who was named Donna Czapla at the time, says she took two drinks from Cosby and passed out, only to wake up naked and in Cosby’s bed. She says Cosby was trying to force her to give him oral sex.

Kristina Ruehli at her wedding in 1967, left, and today.
Kristina Ruehli at her wedding in 1967, left, and today

Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said the comedian hopes more lawsuits are dropped or dismissed and that Cosby looks forward to fighting the rest before a jury in court.

Wyatt also made a point to say that Ruehli’s is the second defamation case against his client to be dismissed this year. In January, former teen actress Renita Hill’s civil suit was dismissed by a federal judge in Pittsburgh who ruled that the Cosby camp’s comments were protected by the First Amendment.

Deluhery countered that Ruehli’s dismissal, unlike Hill’s, was voluntary and had “nothing to do” with the merits of the case.

Ruehli filed a notice to voluntarily dismiss the suit without prejudice, meaning she could refile it. It came after a judge in Springfield, near where Cosby has a home, rejected the comedian’s bid to dismiss the case Thursday.

 

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