On Monday, Bill Cosby filed a defamation lawsuit against seven of the women who have publicly accused him of sexual assault, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.
According to a statement from attorney Monique Pressley, Cosby’s counterclaims were filed in United States District Court in Massachusetts.
The 78-year-old actor’s civil suit names Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis and Angela Leslie as defendants, Pressley’s statement reads.
“Cosby stated plainly that he neither drugged nor sexually assaulted the defendants and that each defendant has maliciously and knowingly published multiple false statements and accusations” about him “in an effort to cause damage to Mr. Cosby’s reputation and to extract financial gains,” the statement says.
Cosby’s defamation suit was filed in response to civil actions initiated by his accusers. Cosby’s lawyer’s statement says her client will be asking a federal judge to “provide him relief from the defendants’ intentional campaign to assassinate his character for their own financial gain by awarding him compensatory and punitive damages.”
The statement adds that the allegations have caused Cosby to suffer emotionally and financially, rendering irreparable damage to his reputation.
Attorney Joseph Cammarata, who represents the seven women named in Cosby’s suit, said in a statement that the filing was an attempt by the actor to “shift the focus” away from the allegations against him.
“It is curious that he has filed a claim only against these seven women, when there are scores of other women who have made similar allegations of sexual abuse and assault against Mr. Cosby,” the statement adds. “My clients remain resolute in their desire to have their day in court, sooner rather than later, and they each expect that their good name and reputation will be restored.”
More than 50 women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct and assault by Cosby.