Wed, Dec 23, 2015 - Page 7 News List

Cosby sues model Beverly Johnson claiming defamation

Reuters, LOS ANGELES

Beverly Johnson poses for a portrait in New York on Sept. 6.

Photo: AP

US comedian Bill Cosby sued model Beverly Johnson on Monday, saying she defamed him by accusing him of drugging her — making her the eighth accuser he has filed a lawsuit against this month.

Johnson is among more than 50 women who have come forward in the past year with claims that Cosby 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 1980s 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 a Los Angeles Superior Court showed.

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

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 a lawsuit against Cosby in December last year accusing him of assault, libel and slander.

Johnson, 63, wrote a detailed article published in Vanity Fair in November last year 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.

She gave interviews to news programs including ABC’s Good Morning America and Nightline reiterating her claims.

Cosby’s lawsuit said he had never spent any time alone with Johnson at his home.

The comedian asked for an injunction requiring Johnson to retract her public statements and remove a chapter about him from her memoir.

The wave of allegations against Cosby have scuttled the comedian’s acting projects and live shows in the past year.

Court documents unsealed in July showed that Cosby testified in a 2005 deposition that he had obtained Quaaludes with the intent of giving the sedatives to young women in order to have sex with them.

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