NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — A judge has ruled Bill Cosby’s wife can be deposed in a civil lawsuit brought against her husband by women who say the comedian defamed them by denying their claims that he drugged and sexually assaulted them.

Attorneys for Camille Cosby moved to quash a deposition order, claiming the law protects spouses from having to testify against each other. But a federal judge denied the motion, saying that law does not apply in this case.

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Lawyers for the seven female plaintiffs argued they subpoenaed Camille Cosby because she was her husband’s business manager, an important distinction.

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Massachusetts’ spousal privilege law protects private conversations with a spouse occurring during their marriage, even in civil proceedings. But an exception allows testimony related to a proceeding arising out of contracts between spouses.

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The judge’s ruling means Camille Cosby will have to participate in a deposition on January 6th. Earlier this week, Montgomery County prosecutors filed criminal sexual assault charges against Bill Cosby, related to allegations of a woman who alleges he attacked her in Cheltenham in 2004.