Lili Bernard: What to Know About the 'Cosby Show' Actress Who's Suing Bill Cosby

Actress Lili Bernard filed a civil lawsuit against Bill Cosby Thursday, accusing the comedian of drugging and raping her at the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City in 1990. Bernard, who is also an artist, appeared in a 1992 episode of The Cosby Show, as well as a 1994 episode of Seinfeld. She claims Cosby promised to help her acting career if she went to Atlantic City with him. Cosby denied the allegations through his representative.

"When I told Bill Cosby I would report him to the police and go to the hospital to find out which drug he sneaked into my drink rendering me incapacitated, he threatened my career and my life," Bernard said on Thursday, reports CBS Philadelphia. "The sexual violence and threats Cosby unleashed upon me as the upward momentum of my acting career and caused me life-long disabling PTSD and sickness which have sometimes required hospitalization." She filed her lawsuit just a month before New Jersey's two-year window allowing victims to file over sexual assault claims expires.

(Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images [Lili Bernard]; Michael Abbott/Getty Images [Bill Cosby])

Bernard is seeking $225 million in damages, according to court documents obtained by TheWrap. She claims she first met Cosby on the set of The Cosby Show and he offered to mentor her. She claims he became a father figure in her life, with her even referring to him as "Daddy." The first alleged assault happened in July 1990, when he allegedly "grabbed her ribcage and diaphragm without her permission ... and then suddenly, violently, and without permission grabbed and squeezed Ms. Bernard's breasts."

In August 1990, Bernard was raped and drugged by Cosby in Atlantic City, she claims. Cosby "persuaded, induced, enticed, and/or coerced" her to go to the Trump Taj Mahal resort under the impression he would introduce her to a producer. But once they reached a hotel suite, Cosby drugged her and she lost consciousness, she claimed in the lawsuit. When she came to, she saw Cosby undressing, and she told him, "No," she claims. She fell asleep, but awoke to him naked and raping her before she lost consciousness. Bernard claims that when she woke up, she was in a hot tub and couldn't move. The next day, she woke up in a bed. After the alleged rape, Cosby told Bernard he would sue her for defamation if she went to the police, the lawsuit reads.

Bernard, who lives in Los Angeles, told the Associated Press she was inspired to file her lawsuit after Cosby was released from prison in June. Cosby served two years of a possible 10-year sentence for the assault of Andrea Constand. Although Cosby was convicted, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered his release because a previous prosecutor reached an agreement with Cosby barring him from being charged in the Constand case. Cosby cannot be tried again in the case, although prosecutors could decide to appeal the conviction's reversal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"When Bill Cosby was released, it retraumatized me, it terrified me. I was really horrified for any woman or girl that would come into contact with him," Bernard told the Associated Press. "The Pennsylvania Supreme Court let a predator back on the streets."

In response to Bernard's allegations, Cosby's representative also criticized the window New Jersey and other states opened to allow older sexual assault claims to be filed. "This is just another attempt to abuse the legal process, by opening up the flood gates for people, who never presented an ounce of evidence...mister 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," the comedian's representative said.


This isn't the first time Bernard has come forward with her claims. Back in 2015, Bernard joined attorney Gloria Allred in calling for Cosby to face charges for allegedly raping Bernard. Allred and Bernard were interviewed by Atlantic City detectives at the time. However, prosecutors declined to prosecute because the alleged assault happened before New Jersey lifted its statute of limitations.

During the 2015 press conference, Bernard said she saw Cosby one final time in 1992. During that meeting, Cosby allegedly told her, "As far as I'm concerned, Bernard, you're dead. Do you hear me? You're dead, Bernard. You don't exist, I never wanna see your face again. Now get the hell out of here!" She became suicidal after that meeting, Bernard said.