Actress Lili Bernard filed a lawsuit against Bill Cosby on Thursday (Oct. 14) claiming that the 84-year-old drugged and raped her in 1990. In court documents, Bernard said she met Cosby on the set of “The Cosby Show,” which she guest starred in during its final season.
Bernard said Cosby offered to be her professional mentor and warned her about “the sexual pressures of Hollywood.” The actress said Cosby further promised to give her a prominent speaking role on “The Cosby Show” “if she worked hard and followed his directions.”
However, during an exercise in vocal projection, Bernard claims Cosby “violently and without permission grabbed and squeezed” her breasts. The actor also allegedly invited Bernard to travel with him to Atlantic City, New Jersey around August of 1990, where she says he drugged and raped her at the Trump Taj Mahal casino resort.
Bernard said she agreed to go on the trip because Cosby said he set up a meeting with a producer who could advance her career. During the trip, Bernard claims Cosby prepared a drink for her that made her feel “dizziness, an urge to vomit and weakness.” She said she vomited, passed out and awoke to find Cosby undressing her despite telling him “No.” Bernard says she went in and out of consciousness that night, awaking to see Cosby naked on top of her and raping her. The actress says she later awoke in an empty bathtub or jacuzzi but was unable to move, and finally awoke the next morning naked in bed.
Cosby allegedly said he would file a police report against Bernard if she reported the rape. Bernard said Cosby also threatened to “erase” her and her acting career if she went public with the incident.
“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,” she said in a press release. “Although it occurred long ago, I still live with the fear, pain and shame every day of my life.”
Bernard is seeking $125 million in damages for psychological, mental and physical trauma.
Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s spokesman, responded to the lawsuit in a statement on Thursday.
“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,” he said. “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 that in July of 2015, a New Jersey prosecutor “terminated” an investigation into Bernard’s claims saying they were ”far beyond the statute of limitations.” Cosby was freed from prison in June after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his sexual assault conviction.