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Cosby drops bid to get settlement money back from Constand

Bill Cosby dropped his legal bid Thursday to force Andrea Constand to return the money he paid her in a confidential settlement a decade ago.

Bill Cosby dropped his legal bid Thursday to force Andrea Constand to return the money he paid her in a confidential settlement a decade ago.

Lawyers for the 78-year-old entertainer filed a motion to withdraw the breach-of-contract suit in federal court in Philadelphia.

It came a week after U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno ruled that Constand's cooperation in the investigation last year that led to Cosby's arrest did not violate a nondisclosure provision both had signed as part of the 2006 settlement.

The move also brought to an end one of the high-profile side battles Cosby has waged against other accusers while awaiting his criminal trial on allegations he drugged and assaulted Constand in 2004 at his Cheltenham mansion.

"Mr. Cosby has today stepped away from [the] suit and will instead focus his efforts on defending himself against the claims that have been lodged against him," his spokesman Andrew Wyatt said in a statement.

Constand's lawyers - Dolores Troiani and Bebe Kivitz, who were also parties to the confidentiality agreement and named as defendants in Cosby's lawsuit - called the withdrawn claims baseless from the start.

Constand "stood firm against this blatant attempt at intimidation and the dismissal is a victory for all victims," Troiani said.

The suit, filed in February, contended the settlement between Cosby and Constand, a former manager for Temple University's women's basketball program, barred both from disclosing details about the 2005 criminal investigation into her sexual-assault claims.

Robreno tossed Cosby's claims tied to Constand's cooperation with police, calling them "unenforceable." But the judge said other parts of the suit could proceed, including allegations that she violated the agreement through tweets and statements she made to a Canadian newspaper. Cosby chose not to pursue them.

Constand's lawyers had contended Cosby violated the settlement first with press statements questioning the allegations by Constand and the more than 50 other women nationwide who have accused him of sexual misconduct.

They also suggested the breach-of-contract suit was filed to have a "chilling effect" on Constand if she is called to testify should the Montgomery County sexual assault case go to trial.

Cosby has been ordered to stand trial in Norristown on charges of aggravated indecent assault and has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces five to 10 years in prison. A pretrial conference before Judge Steven T. O'Neill is scheduled for September.

He has also filed defamation countersuits against accusers in Pittsburgh, Massachusetts, and California while awaiting his criminal trial in Norristown. 215-854-2608 @jeremyrroebuck