Bill Cosby has dropped his defamation suit against model Beverly Johnson, for now, his rep tells ABC News.
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"The case has been voluntarily dismissed at this time due to the pendency of the criminal proceedings in Montgomery County, PA, which impede Mr. Cosby's ability to fully participate in litigating the civil case against Ms. Johnson. We fully expect to re-file the complaint against her prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations," the statement to ABC News read.
As referenced in the statement, Cosby, 78, was unable to have an aggravated indecent assault criminal charge against him thrown out earlier in the month and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for March 8 in Pennsylvania.
Cosby had filed suit in California against Johnson for defamation in December after he claims she made "false, malicious, opportunistic and defamatory accusations" that he drugged her nearly three decades ago, according to the comedian's attorney, Monique Pressley. Johnson spoke out to numerous media outlets late last year about an alleged incident in 1968 that she said took place between her and Cosby at his New York City brownstone. She also referenced the alleged incident in her memoir, "The Face That Changed It All."
In her allegations, Johnson said Cosby gave her a drink that had been spiked with drugs and put his hand around her waist, but she was able to leave. Cosby had been seeking compensatory and punitive damages, a retraction of her statements, and the removal of the chapter from her memoir.
After the filing late last year, Johnson responded.
"In cases of rape and abuse, abusers will do whatever they can to intimidate and weaken their victims to force them to stop fighting. I ask for your support of all of the victims involved. Thank you," she said in a statement to ABC News.
Over the past two years, dozens of women have come forward claiming sexual misconduct at the hands of Cosby. Cosby's legal team has repeatedly denied the accusations and says that the comedian will be vindicated in the criminal case.