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US woman drops Cosby defamation suit

Associated Press Associated Press 25/06/2016

A 72-year-old New Hampshire woman who says Bill Cosby raped her in 1965 has withdrawn her civil defamation lawsuit against the comedian, a day after a federal judge had allowed the case to move forward.

Kristina Ruehli's lawyer said her client had decided not to pursue the case because the legal landscape had changed since she first filed suit in November.

Cosby now faces criminal prosecution in Pennsylvania and similar civil actions are in play 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."

Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt responded that the comedian hoped more lawsuits were dropped or dismissed and that Cosby looked forward to fighting the rest before a jury in court.

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

"For those in the media who accepted every allegation raised without question or evaluation, they need to answer the well-known question with respect to Mr Cosby, 'Which office do I go to get my reputation back'?" Wyatt said.

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. That came after a judge in Springfield, near where Cosby has a home, rejected the comedian's bid to dismiss the case on Thursday.

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