Bill Cosby sues model Beverly Johnson for defamation

Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:10am EST
 
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedian Bill Cosby sued model Beverly Johnson on Monday, saying she defamed him by accusing him of drugging her, and making her the eighth accuser he has filed suit against this month.

Johnson is among more than 50 women who have come forward in the past year with claims that Cosby had drugged, and in numerous cases, sexually assaulted them in incidents dating back decades.

Cosby's suit charges that Johnson, a leading model in the 1970s and '80s and one of his most high-profile accusers, defamed him and intentionally inflicted emotional distress. He is demanding a jury trial, court documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court showed.

Cosby representative Monique Pressley said in a statement that "Mr. Cosby states that he never drugged defendant and her story is a lie."

Cosby, 78, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and has never been criminally charged. Many of the alleged incidents occurred decades ago and the statute of limitations for prosecuting them expired long ago.

Last week, Cosby filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts, suing seven of the accusers for defamation. The seven women had filed suit against Cosby last December accusing him of assault, libel and slander.

Johnson, 63, wrote a detailed article in Vanity Fair in November 2014 about her encounter with Cosby in the mid-1980s, saying she was invited by the comedian, best known for his role in the 1980s sitcom "The Cosby Show," to his home where he allegedly drugged her coffee.

"In cases of rape and abuse, abusers will do whatever they can to intimidate and weaken their victims to force them to stop fighting," Johnson said in a statement.   Continued...

 
Actor Bill Cosby speaks at the National Action Network's 20th annual Keepers of the Dream Awards gala in New York April 6, 2011.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson