Bill Cosby has been sued for sexual assault by actress Lili Bernard, who claims she was drugged and raped by the disgraced ‘Cosby Show’ star in 1990. However, the 84-year-old actor maintains his innocence in the case, Yahoo Entertainment is reporting.
“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. She initially shared her story about being attacked by the actor several years ago.
The actress, who’s being represented by Merson Law, PLLC in the case, filed the lawsuit in New Jersey federal court yesterday, October 14. “Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted, battered, and drugged Ms. Bernard on additional occasions,” the lawsuit alleges.
Bernard was able to file the lawsuit as part of the state’s two-year look back window. The window allows sexual abuse survivors to initiate civil claims whenever they feel comfortable, regardless of when an assault occurred.
The actress met the once-beloved actor on set of ‘The Cosby Show,’ which won several Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards during its eight-season run on NBC in the 1980s-early 1990s. After Bernard was introduced to Cosby during the sitcom’s production, he offered to be her mentor for her acting career.
According to her lawsuit, the series’ co-creator viewed the actress as if she were his daughter. During their working relationship, he warned her about the sexual pressures of Hollywood.
Bernard also alleges in the lawsuit that during a mentoring session in a suite at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, Cosby made her what she believed to be a non-alcoholic beverage. But after drinking it, she began to feel dizzy, an urge to vomit and weakness.
The actress also claims she fell in and out of consciousness throughout the night, and at one point when she woke up, she fond the actor naked atop her. She remembers telling him “no” during the encounter. The morning after the alleged rape, she claims he gave her money and secured her transportation back to New York.
Bernard also claimed Cosby threatened to sue her for defamation and would threatened her career if she reported the alleged abuse to the police. She went on to note that she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, nightmares, severe physical pain and multiple other permanent injuries. She’s seeking at least $25 million in damages.
In response, the actor’s rep, Andrew Wyatt, criticized the actress’ 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 Entertainment.
“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. 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,” Wyatt added.
Cosby served more than two years of a three- to 10-year sentence after being found guilty of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. His 2018 conviction was overturned this past June, much to his alleged victims’ dismay.