Bill Cosby
Comedian Bill Cosby performs at The Temple Buell Theatre in Denver, Colorado January 17, 2015. REUTERS/BARRY GUTIERREZ

Bill Cosby’s lawyers are saying that the actor and accused rapist is within his rights of self-defense to discredit his accusers when he or his representatives speak to the press. Cosby’s lawyers are seeking a Massachusetts court to dismiss defamation claims made by three of Cosby’s accusers after the comedian's publicist and lawyers made comments to media that they considered to be slanderous.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Tamara Green was the first to file the suit. Later, Therese Serignese and Linda Traitz also said that they too had been victims of defamation after coming out with their claims of sexual assault.

Green, who claims she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby in the 1970s, says comments made to Newsweek and the Washington Post by Cosby’s publicist and lawyer discredit her account and have ruined her reputation.

According to a court memorandum put together by Cosby’s team to dismiss the case, “the law does not require that one stand idly by while he is publicly attacked.”

“Instead, the law entitles an individual who is accused of serious wrongdoing to rebut the allegations without facing defamation claims. Statements made in self-defense are privileged and cannot form the basis of a defamation action.”

Cosby’s lawyers are also claiming that none of the plaintiffs were ever directly called “liars” in the comments made by Cosby’s representatives and that their statements (where in one Traitz is accused of “fabrications” and “ridiculous” allegations) are merely “expressions of opinion” which are constitutionally protected. “While Plaintiff Green alleges she was branded a liar, this is far from the case … it said nothing about her general veracity, her character, or the truthfulness of any other statement she has ever made,” the memorandum said.

“A statement calling a person’s accusations baseless does not impair that person’s standing in the community,” it continued.