In a slimy bout of legal gymnastics, Bill Cosby’s lawyers have argued that the defamation lawsuit filed by three women accusing Cosby of sex crimes is unconstitutional, and that the First Amendment protects his right to publicly talk shit about the women he allegedly raped or sexually assaulted over the course of his long career.

After Tamara Green, Theresa Serignese, and Linda Traitz accused the comedian of crimes ranging from drugging to rape, Cosby’s “representatives” openly accused them of lying, drawing on their backgrounds in attempts to diminish their allegations and going so far as to call their accusations “absurd fabrications.” Pouncing on Traitz’s criminal record, one statement suggested that people “consider the source” when weighing the evidence. The women in turn filed a lawsuit against Cosby for slandering their reputations.

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“Strangers speaking about me and believing I’m a liar is very painful,” Green said this Monday. “Sometimes it’s too emotionally traumatizing.”

Argument via attack on personal character is textbook fallacy, but that doesn’t always deflate its influence. Still, Cosby’s lawyers are calling his statements merely “personal opinions,” and they should be protected by law. They additionally state that Cosby was acting in “self-defense” against his accusations.

Nothing has been decided on this case yet, and Joe Cammarata, one of the women’s lawyers, spoke out vehemently against the tactics of Cosby’s team: “The law recognizes that if you believe that your good name and reputation has been tarnished that you have an opportunity to present your case in a forum where truth can be tried. It’s that simple.”

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It should be that simple. And yet, here we are.

Image via Getty.