Bill Cosby is facing new legal issues, as a former Cosby Show actress is suing him for sexual assault. According to Yahoo, actress Lili Bernard claims that the longtime comedian drugged and raped her in 1990. Bernard actually came forward with allegations many years ago, but now is taking legal action. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in New Jersey federal court, and is pursuant to the state's two-year "look-back window." This allows sexual abuse survivors the opportunity to bring forth civil claims even in instances when the alleged assault occurred many years prior.
"I have waited a long time to be able to pursue my case in court and I look forward to being heard and to hold Cosby accountable for what he did to me. Although it occurred long ago, I still live with the fear, pain and shame every day of my life," Bernard said in a statement shared by Yahoo. She also detailed the alleged assault, stating that it took place while she was in a mentoring session with Cosby at a Trump Taj Mahal suite. The actress claims that Cosby fixed her a non-alcoholic beverage, but that she "began to feel symptoms of dizziness, an urge to vomit, and weakness" when drank it.
Bernard claims she began to flow in and out of consciousness, but at one point remembers becoming aware that Cosby was "naked atop her." She claims that she told him "no" during the alleged rape. The following morning, Bernard claims that Cosby gave her some money and had her taken back to New York. "Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted, battered, and drugged Ms. Bernard on additional occasions," alleges the lawsuit, which was filed by Merson Law, PLLC on behalf of Bernard.
Additionally, Bernard claims that Cosby threatened her with a potential defamation lawsuit, allegedly saying that if she ever told the police about the encounter he would "erase" her. She also states that he threatened her acting career, and that because of the situation she has had to live with issues such as anxiety, depression, nightmares, post-traumatic stress disorder, and severe physical pain, as well as "multiple other permanent injuries." Bernard is seeking damages in "an amount no less than" $25 million.
In response, a representative for Cosby, Andrew Wyatt, released a statement criticizing the lawsuit. "These look back provisions are unconstitutional and they are a sheer violation of an individual's constitutional rights and denies that individual of their due process," Wyatt told Yahoo. "This is just another attempt to abuse the legal process, by opening up the floodgates for people who never presented an ounce of evidence, proof, truth and/or facts, in order to substantiate their alleged allegations."
Wyatt continued, "Mr. Cosby continues to maintain steadfast in his innocence and will vigorously fight any alleged allegations waged against him and is willing and able to take this fight to the highest court in these United States of America." Notably, Cosby spent over two years in prison after being convicted of drugging and violating former Temple University sports administrator Andrea Constand. However, in June the Pennsylvania Supreme court overturned 83-year-old Cosby's conviction and he is now free.0comments