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'Bill Cosby is a target of extortion'

The comedian's attorney says before filing the lawsuit, Judy Huth tried extorting $250k from Cosby.

Actor Bill Cosby performs at the King Center for the Performing Arts on 21 November, 2014 in Melbourne, Florida. Picture: AFP

LOS ANGELES - Bill Cosby's attorney on Thursday said a lawsuit accusing the comedian of sexually molesting a teenager four decades ago was meritless and alleged that the accuser tried to extort $250,000 from Cosby before filing the suit.

Cosby attorney Marty Singer filed documents asking Los Angeles Superior Court to throw out a California woman's claims, saying they did not meet legal requirements and were too old.

Judy Huth has accused Cosby, 77, of sexually molesting her at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles in 1974 when she was 15. Huth is one of more than a dozen women in past weeks to allege sexual misconduct by Cosby.

Singer also asked for monetary damages and sanctions against Huth and her attorney Marc Strecker, who Singer alleges asked for $100,000 on behalf of Huth before increasing the alleged demand to $250,000.

Singer alleged that Strecker "rushed to the courthouse to file this lawsuit on behalf of his client" after the cash demands were rejected.

Strecker did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Cosby, the trailblasing African-American comic best known as the wholesome Dr. Cliff Huxtable on the long-running, top-rated television series The Cosby Show, has never been charged and settled a 2005 civil suit that alleged sexual misconduct.

Huth is the first of the women to file a lawsuit in the recent wave of public allegations. Most of the claims, some stretching back to the 1960s, would be too old for either civil or criminal charges.

Huth used a portion of California law that allows for a lawsuit to be filed three years after a child sex crime is discovered to have caused damages.

Singer's filing said Huth has no claim because she failed to provide the correct certificates from medical professionals demonstrating that she discovered the damages within the past three years. Singer also alleges that Huth attempted to sell her story to tabloids a decade ago.

The allegations have damaged Cosby's public image.

On Thursday, the US Navy revoked Cosby's title of honorary chief petty officer. Many of his standup comedy appearances have been cancelled, and he has resigned as a trustee from Temple University. Cosby served in the navy for four years.

NBC and Netflix last month shelved television projects with Cosby, whose name has been ratings gold since the 1960s, when he co-starred in the series I Spy.

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