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Bill Cosby’s ‘fishing expedition’ for journalist’s notes rejected by NY judge

Bill Cosby arrives at the courthouse in Elkins

Bill Cosby arrives at the courthouse in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kena Betancur

A Manhattan federal judge on Tuesday rejected Bill Cosby’s attempt to subpoena New York Magazine for interview material it didn’t publish in preparing a 2015 story about 35 women who claim they were assaulted by the comedian.

Six of the women are suing Cosby for defamation in Massachusetts, and he has countersued. His lawyers hope the unused materials would help him, but U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe said the subpoena was barred by New York’s reporters’ shield law.

“The subpoena is in my judgment a fishing expedition,” Gardephe said at the conclusion of an hourlong hearing. “Cosby has no notion really whether there is anything in the files that might be useful.”

New York’s shield law protects news organizations against broad subpoenas so they won’t be used to discourage news gathering, said the judge. He said the bid to subpoena the magazine “borders on the frivolous.”

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