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BOSTON — Bill Cosby fired back Monday at seven women who are suing him for defamation, accusing them of making false accusations of sexual misconduct for financial gain.

In a countersuit, Cosby alleges the women made “malicious, opportunistic, and false and defamatory accusations” against him. Cosby is seeking monetary damages “to the maximum extent permitted by law.”

The women have claimed Cosby defamed them by allowing his representatives to brand them as liars after they went public with allegations of rape and other sexual misconduct dating back decades.

In his counterclaim, the comedian says the women have “engaged in a campaign to assassinate” his character. He says their campaign is “nothing more than an opportunistic attempt to extract financial gain from him.”

The women suing Cosby in U.S. District Court in Springfield are among approximately 50 who have come forward with allegations of rape or unwanted sexual contact over the last year. Cosby has a home in Shelburne in western Massachusetts.

Joseph Cammarata, an attorney representing the women, said Cosby’s countersuit “stinks of retaliation.”

“To suggest that these ladies — each and every one of them — got together and orchestrated a campaign against Mr. Cosby is hard to fathom,” Cammarata said.

Cosby’s countersuit cites his work as an entertainer and philanthropist, saying Cosby “prides himself in the legacy and reputation he has earned throughout his life.”

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