Comedian Bill Cosby addresses the crowd in front of his wife, Camille Cosby, after beREUTERS/Lucas Jackson

A lawyer for seven women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault said on Monday he planned to ask the comedian's wife about the couple's relationship in a deposition for his clients' defamation lawsuit.

The deposition of Camille Cosby, who has been married to the entertainer for 52 years and manages his business, was set to go forward at a Marriott hotel in Springfield, Massachusetts, despite a last-minute plea by the couple's lawyers to spare her from answering questions in the closed-door session.

Plaintiff's lawyer Joseph Cammarata told reporters he intended to "vindicate our clients' interests" after a morning hearing at U.S. District Court in Springfield, where a judge ruled that the deposition would go ahead.

"I expect to ask her about her relationship with Mr. Cosby, her relationship to his personal interests, his business interests and matters that are relevant to the issues in the case," Cammarata said.


U.S. District Judge Mark Mastroianni ruled earlier this month that Camille Cosby would have to talk to lawyers bringing the defamation lawsuit against her husband, although she could not be compelled to reveal private conversations with him.

More than 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby, who is best known for his role as the father in the 1980s television hit "The Cosby Show," of raping them, often after plying them with alcohol or drugs, in incidents dating back decades.

Most of the alleged crimes date too far back to be prosecuted. But just days before the statute of limitations was to expire, Pennsylvania officials late last year charged Cosby with sexually assaulting a woman in 2005.

Cosby, 78, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, but a Pennsylvania judge early this month rejected his request to dismiss the charges.

Tamara Green filed the Massachusetts lawsuit in December 2014. She was later joined by six other women who say Cosby sexually assaulted or abused them and defamed them by calling them liars.

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