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Janice Dickinson sues Bill Cosby for defamation

Former supermodel Janice Dickinson became the highest profile accuser of Bill Cosby to take legal action in the wake of renewed coverage of alleged assaults.

Former supermodel Janice Dickinson became the highest profile accuser of Bill Cosby to take legal action in the wake of renewed coverage of alleged assaults committed by the comedian on Wednesday.

The 60-year-old reality TV star has sued Cosby for defamation after his legal counsel dismissed her claims that she was raped by the legendary comedian in 1982 in a Nevada hotel room. Although Cosby has never been charged with a crime and had denied allegations of drugging and sexual assault in the past, he has been dogged by accusations that have mounted since fellow comedian Hannibal Burress alluded to them in a stand-up routine that went viral last fall. Cosby currently faces another defamation suit brought by three women who have alleged that he assaulted them in the past.

"Janice Dickinson, like over three dozen other Cosby victims, recently publicly disclosed that she was drugged and raped by Bill Cosby," Dickinson's attorneys wrote in the complaint. "In retaliation, Cosby, through an attorney, publicly branded her a liar and called her rape disclosure a lie with the intent and effect of revictimizing her and destroying the professional reputation she's spent decades building." 

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Cosby's lawyers have not responded to the Dickinson lawsuit. However, Cosby's attorney Marty Singer issued a widely distributed statement last November refuting Dickinson's allegations. “There is a glaring contradiction between what she is claiming now for the first time and what she wrote in her own book and what she told the media back in 2002,” Singer said. “The only story she gave 12 years ago to the media and in her autobiography was that she refused to sleep with Mr. Cosby and he blew her off.”

“Documentary proof and Ms. Dickinson’s own words show that her new story about something she now claims happened back in 1982 is a fabricated lie,” he added at the time. 

Dickinson did address an inappropriate encounter with Cosby during a 2006 appearance on Howard Stern's talk show during which she claimed that her publisher, HarperCollins, excised it from her 2002 autobiography "No Lifeguard on Duty." "Bill Cosby was the only guy I couldn't write about in the book because HarperCollins was afraid of lawsuits," she said.

Without expressly mentioning an alleged rape, Dickinson said, "The guy's a bad guy, let me just say that. He's not a nice guy. He preys on women that have just come out of rehab, I'll say that."

The ex-model went public again last November in a series of appearances beginning with an interview on "Entertainment Tonight," in which she stated that she recalls Cosby giving her red wine and pill after she complained of menstrual cramps. 

"The next morning I woke up, and I wasn't wearing my pajamas, and I remember before I passed out that I had been sexually assaulted by this man," she said. "... Before I woke up in the morning, the last thing I remember was Bill Cosby in a patchwork robe, dropping his robe and getting on top of me. And I remember a lot of pain. The next morning I remember waking up with my pajamas off and there was semen in between my legs."

For his part, Cosby has stayed largely silent about the allegations swirling around him. Aside from a few passing references to the controversy during his recent "Far From Finished" stand-up comedy tour, he has mostly relied on surrogates and his legal counsel to speak for him.

However, in a May 15 sit-down interview with "Good Morning America," correspondent Linsey Davis, the 77-year-old former sitcom star, said, “I have been in this business 52 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.” He added, ”Reality is the situation and I can’t speak.”