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One of Bill Cosby’s accusers is now suing him for $125m, alleging that the comedian drugged and raped her three decades ago.
Lili Bernard has already spoken publicly about her story, joining the approximately 60 women who have accused Mr Cosby of sexual assault. But because of a New Jersey statute of limitations, she was never able to face him at trial. Now, by suing Mr Cosby in civil court, Ms Bernard may finally get her chance.
“I have waited a long time to be able to pursue my case in court, and I look forward to being heard and to holding Cosby accountable for what he did to me,” Ms Bernard said in a statement. “Although it occurred long ago, I still live with the fear, pain, and shame every day of my life.”
A spokesperson for Mr Cosby, Andrew Wyatt, vehemently denied the accusations.
“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, proof, truth and/or facts, in order to substantiate their alleged allegations,” Mr Wyatt told NBC Philadelphia. “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.”
In the lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by Law & Crime, Ms Bernard alleges that Mr Cosby’s abuse began in the summer of 1990. Ms Bernard met him on the set of The Cosby Show, where she had a guest-starring role, and Mr Cosby allegedly offered to train her with one-on-one “theatrical exercises.”
In August, Mr Cosby reportedly met with Ms Bernard at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, ostensibly to introduce her to an important producer.
“Once at the suite, Mr Cosby prepared a supposedly non-alcoholic beverage for Ms Bernard to drink, since she did not drink alcoholic beverages,” the lawsuit says. “After drinking the beverage, Ms Bernard began to feel symptoms of dizziness, an urge to vomit, and weakness.”
According to Ms Bernard, Mr Cosby then led her to the bathroom, where she vomited and lost consciousness.
“When Ms Bernard awoke, Mr Cosby was undressing her and she remained dizzy, unable to stand, and unable to move her body,” the lawsuit alleges. “When Ms Bernard said, ‘No,’ in response to Mr Cosby’s efforts to undress her, Mr Cosby ignored her and continued to undress her. She lost consciousness again. Ms Bernard awoke again to find Mr. Cosby naked atop her, vaginally raping her with his penis.”
When she finally woke up the next morning, the lawsuit says, Mr Cosby “dragged Ms Bernard to a sitting position, dressed her quickly, handed Ms Bernard money, and walked her to a waiting car with the assistance of a bellman.”
Ms Bernard brought her horrific story to Atlantic City police in 2015, but prosecutors reportedly declined to bring charges because the accusations predated a 1996 New Jersey law lifting the statute of limitations.
Mr Cosby has consistently denied that he ever sexually assaulted anyone.