“This is a difficult issue as there is very little authority directly on the subject,” he wrote, notifying he was modifying U.S. Magistrate Judge David Hennessy’s Dec. 31, 2015 decision saying the marital disqualification rule applies only to trial testimony, not deposition testimony.
“The court concludes that the marital disqualification rule does apply to deposition testimony,” Judge Mastroianni wrote. “Deponent, when appropriate, may refuse to answer deposition questions which call for testimony prohibited by the rule and not falling within an exception.
“The court will not quash the deposition subpoena and will not issue a formal protective order,” he wrote.
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Attorneys for Bill and Camille Cosby sought and obtained a temporary stay while appealing Hennessy’s decision. The deposition is currently scheduled for Feb. 22 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The split ruling had both sides declaring victory.
“Critically important decision by the Court today,” Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said in a statement, “agreeing with Mrs Cosby’s appellate argument, affirming the confidential nature of and protection afforded to marital communications.”
Joseph Cammarata, the attorney for the seven accusers, including retired California attorney Tamara Green, said it was “a great day” for his team.
“Despite the efforts of Mr. and Mrs. Cosby to prevent us from asking her questions the court said that we are entitled to do so because she likely has important information to provide,” Cammarata tells PEOPLE.
“We intend to get that important information when we take her deposition,” he says.
Last month, Cammarata told PEOPLE her testimony is crucial to his case.
“She’s probably the one person that has the most important, relevant information to this case,” he says. “She’s married to him for 50 years. She’s his business manager. Nothing more needs to be said.”
Cosby’s lawyers also filed a motion Tuesday seeking to delay this lawsuit pending the outcome of the criminal sexual assault charges against him in Pennsylvania.