In an oral ruling today, reported by Reuters, Judge Gardephe denied as “border[ing] on the frivolous” Bill Cosby’s motion to compel New York Magazine to produce unpublished material relating to a story it published about 35 women who accused him of sexual assault. Cosby had argued in his motion papers that the material fell outside New York’s reporters’ shield law because it would be critical to his defense of a defamation action brought by various of his accusers in Massachusetts. Specifically, according to Cosby, “Plaintiffs’ statements to NYM may reveal descriptions of the alleged assaults by Mr. Cosby that differ from prior or future versions of these accounts.”
But New York Magazine argued, and Judge Gardephe appears to have agreed, that these claims of relevance were too “generic” to overcome the reporters’ shield:
Defendant here has not even made a credible argument that New York Media has any particular information that would have any bearing on his case, let alone that it has any unique or special information that would affect the outcome. Cosby’s argument is so generic that were it to prevail, the resulting standard could lead to a requirement that any or all of the countless media outlets that have covered the Cosby controversy or interviewed any of his accusers would be forced to throw open their files so Cosby could sift through in hopes of finding some unspecified document that could possibly aid his case. That is specifically what the Shield Law prevents.