Not only is Bill Cosby spending three to 10 years behind bars for sexual assault, the "sexually violent predator" designation a judge branded him could prove to be costly in his ongoing civil legal battles as well.
The comedian and Cosby Show star is currently at legal warfare with nearly a dozen different women, many of whom are suing him for defamation after he denied their sexual assault charges. The 81-year-old, who is now legally a sexually violent predator, may have to pay a significant amount more in damages now that he's convicted.
In one legal battle with former supermodel Janice Dickinson, Cosby denies her claim that he drugged and raped her in the 1980s. She's suing over a 2014 statement from his former lawyer Marty Singer that called her claim "an outrageous defamatory lie."
Dickinson's lawyer, Lisa Bloom, told The Hollywood Reporter that now that Cosby has been "deemed a sexually violent predator and convicted felony sex offender," California law allows her to use that information to "corroborate Janice Dickinson's claim that he raped her. And I will."
Joe Cammarata, who represents seven other women suing Cosby for libel, says that jailhouse depositions will not have a slowing effect on their legal process. "My clients were branded liars," Cammarata said. "That can have a significant deleterious effect, which translates into significant damages."
Even an outside litigator, who is not involved in the Cosby matters, says it's obvious Cosby's sentence and designation will impact the civil cases against him. "It shows a pattern of predatory behavior against women, which likely would cause a jury to increase the damages award," Bryan Sullivan told THR.
"Given the conviction and the number of accusers, I don't believe that there is much he can do to mitigate the financial losses, except to start settling the civil cases," he continued.
To give an idea of how much a civil case might settle for, he paid Andrea Constand $3.4 million in 2006 to settle her civil suit.
As previously reported, Cosby was convicted in April on three counts of sexual assault for a 2004 incident against Constand in which he drugged and assaulted her inside his Philadelphia home. At the time, he was a close friend and mentor of Constand, who worked for Temple University's athletic department.0comments
Cosby was sentenced on Sept. 25 to three to 10 years in state prison for his crimes. In a victim-impact statement given to Judge Steven T. O'Neill before he decided the sentencing, Constand wrote about how the assault affected her life.
"Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature, and my trust in myself and others," she wrote. "We may never know the full extend of his double life as a sexual predator but his decades-long reign of terror as a serial rapist is over."