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Judge: Bill Cosby's wife must testify in civil suit

Comedian Bill Cosby and wife Camille O. Cosby walk backstage during the 38th annual NAACP Image Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on March 2, 2007, in Los Angeles.

Michael Buckner/Getty Images for NAACP

BOSTON -- A Massachusetts judge is ordering Bill Cosby's wife to testify in a defamation lawsuit brought by seven women who accuse the comedian of sexual assault.

The New York Times reported U.S. Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessy ruled Thursday Camille Cosby can be deposed next week, and there will be no limitation on the questions she can be asked.

Bill Cosby's lawyers wanted to block his wife from having to testify or limit the scope of the questioning and vowed Friday to appeal the decision, according to the Times.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs want to ask Camille Cosby about her husband's treatment of women. Her deposition is scheduled for Jan. 6, with Bill Cosby scheduled to testify in the case Feb. 22.

Cosby was charged Wednesday in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania with aggravated indecent assault, punishable by five to 10 years behind bars and a $25,000 fine. He is free on $1 million bail.

The criminal charges stem from a 2004 encounter with a former Temple University employee who claims he drugged and sexually assaulted her at his suburban Philadelphia home. The charges were filed just days before the statute of limitations was set to expire.

The seven accusers in the Massachusetts case filed their civil lawsuit in November, claiming Cosby sexually abused them and later defamed them by calling their accounts lies. They were unable to file lawsuits directly tied to their allegations because of the statute of limitations.

Cosby countersued in December for defamation, tortious interference and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

His lawyer, Monique Pressley, released a statement on Twitter after the countersuit was filed calling the women's accusations "malicious, opportunistic, and false and defamatory." It also states that the women "knowingly published false statements and accusations."