- Bill Cosby sued one of his most vocal accusers for defamation yesterday, accusing supermodel Beverly Johnson of fabricating claims that the comedian drugged and tried to sexually assault her in the 1980s.
The lawsuit is part of a new legal strategy by Cosby to attack some of the women accusing him of sexual abuse in court. Cosby last week countersued several women accusing him of defamation, but the lawsuit against Johnson is the first time the comedian has taken legal action against a woman who hasn't sued him first.
Cosby's lawsuit accuses Johnson of lying about an incident in which she says Cosby drugged her with a cappuccino in his New York home before letting her go after she angrily rebuked his advances.
The suit contends Johnson, 63, has been using the story - first told in a Vanity Fair story and repeated in numerous interviews and a memoir - to try to rekindle her career.
Johnson's "false allegations against Mr. Cosby have been the centerpiece of her attempted resurgence and she has played them to the hilt, repeatedly and maliciously publishing the false accusations in articles, interviews, and television appearances," Cosby's lawsuit states.
It seeks unspecified damages and an injunction preventing the model from repeating her claims and requests they be removed from Johnson's memoir, which was released in August.
A call to Johnson's publicist Ann-Marie Nieves was not immediately returned.
Cosby's lawsuit states that a dinner described by Johnson was attended by his wife and he never spent time alone with the model.
Cosby's response comes in the wake of counterclaims his attorneys filed last week in a Massachusetts federal court against seven women who are suing him there for defamation. Those women contend Cosby defamed them by allowing his representatives to brand them as liars.
In the countersuit, Cosby claims the women made "malicious, opportunistic, and false and defamatory accusations" of sexual misconduct against him that are "nothing more than an opportunistic attempt to extract financial gain from him."
Cosby is a defendant in six civil cases filed in Los Angeles, Massachusetts and Pittsburgh. Since late 2014, more than 50 women - most of whom have not sued - have accused the comedian of sexual abuse dating back decades. Cosby has never been criminally charged.