Former ‘Cosby Show’ actress sues Bill Cosby for sexual assault

Lili Bernard has filed a lawsuit against the now-disgraced comedian in a New Jersey federal court seeking $25 million in damages.

Actress Lili Bernard, who appeared on The Cosby Show and was one of the dozens of women claiming Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them years ago, has filed a lawsuit against the now-disgraced comedian in federal court seeking $25 million in damages. 

Bernard spoke out about her assault in 2015, when she alleged that Cosby drugged and raped her in 1990. She said the crime occurred six years after she appeared on The Cosby Show, and that Cosby had offered to be her acting mentor. 

In this May 2015 photo, Lili Bernard (left) and Gloria Allred, her attorney at the time, talk with other protestors outside Bill Cosby’s “Far from Finished” Tour at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in Atlanta. (Photo: Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

“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,” Bernard said in a statement via her attorneys Merson Law, PLLC. “Although it occurred long ago, I still live with the fear, pain and shame every day of my life.” 

The lawsuit was filed in New Jersey, which has a two-year “look back” window that allows sexual assault survivors to file civil claims regardless of when the assault took place. 

Yahoo Entertainment obtained court documents in which Bernard alleged that Cosby emphasized to her “that chastity was a virtue, warned her of the sexual pressures of Hollywood” and told her she could call him “Daddy.”

She alleged that during a mentoring session at the Trump Taj Mahal, Cosby made her a non-alcoholic drink, and after she consumed it, the actress “began to feel symptoms of dizziness, an urge to vomit and weakness.” Her lawsuit alleges that she went in and out of consciousness, and at one point, she awoke “to find Mr. Cosby naked atop her” and recalls telling him “no.” 

The very next morning, she alleges, Cosby gave her money and secured transportation returning her to New York City. “Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted, battered and drugged Ms. Bernard on additional occasions,” her lawsuit says. 

The Cuban-born Bernard, also a visual artist who now lives in Los Angeles and has campaigned for greater opportunities for Black artists, is claiming she has PTSD, anxiety, depression, nightmares and severe physical pain as a result of Cosby’s alleged attacks.

Andrew Wyatt, a spokesperson for Cosby, told Yahoo Entertainment, “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.” 

“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,” Wyatt added. “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.”

Cosby’s 2018 conviction for sexually assaulting former Temple University staffer Andrea Constand was overturned in June, resulting in his release from prison after he spent over two years of a three-to-10-year sentence behind bars.

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