Detailing eerily familiar alleged modus operandi on the part of the man once known as “America’s Dad,” two former The Cosby Show actresses and three other women on Tuesday sued Bill Cosby and NBCUniversal for sexual assault and battery in New York state court.
“Plaintiffs were all sexually battered, assaulted, and abused by Bill Cosby as a part of the same conduct, occurrence, plan, or scheme that was perpetrated, conducted, organized, and/or performed in New York and other states by Bill Cosby and his associates and enablers,” claims the complaint from Lili Bernard and Eden Tirl, Jewel Gittens, Jennifer Thompson and Cindra Ladd, citing the once-incarcerated comedian repeatedly using his “enormous power in such a nefarious, horrific way.”
Adds the 34-page filing by attorneys Jordan Merson and Jordan Rutsky in the Empire State’s Supreme Court: “Over the course of several decades, Bill Cosby engaged in the serial sexual assault of dozens of women for his sexual gratification while the co-defendants enabled and aided these sexual assaults to benefit financially by their association with Bill Cosby.” (Read the complaint here.)
Naming the Comcast-owned media giant, plus Kaufman Astoria Studios and The Carsey-Werner Company as co-defendants for “negligence,” the suit seeks a variety of unspecified damages.
“Defendants NBCUniversal Media, LLC, Kaufman Astoria Studios, Inc., and The Carsey-Werner Company, LLC are also culpable and liable because they knew and/or should have known that Bill Cosby was sexually abusing, assaulting, and/or battering women, including on their premises, but did nothing to stop it,” the document says of the companies involved in the production of The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984-1992.
Contacted by Deadline, reps for NBCU said the company does not comment on legal matters. Commenting or not, all of the corporate defendants will likely move fairly quickly to try to get themselves out of this sordid matter.
More than 60 women have claimed that Cosby drugged and assaulted them over the decades with a similar combo of pills and alcohol; the same is alleged by Bernard, Tirl and the other plaintiffs in this latest matter.
Being that the alleged assaults — some of which have been made public before against the much-accused Cosby — occurred decades ago, today’s action comes as a result of New York’s recently enacted Adult Survivors Act. Inked into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul in May and in effect as of November 24, the law suspends the statute of limitations on certain sex crime and permits plaintiffs a one-year window to file claims – as has recently happened in a rape case against Donald Trump.
“This is an important step toward holding Bill Cosby and his enablers accountable for their actions and finding some measure of justice for the women they have harmed,” Rutsky told Deadline in a statement today. “We are thankful for the plaintiffs in this lawsuit and other similarly situated women for their bravery in facing their abusers.”
As expected, Cosby’s longtime spokesman rejected the matter.
“As we have always stated, and now America can see, this isn’t about justice for victims of alleged sexual assault, it’s all about money,” said Andrew Wyatt. “We believe that the courts, as well as the court of public opinion, will follow the rules of law and relieve Mr. Cosby of these alleged accusations. Mr. Cosby continues to vehemently deny all allegation waged against him and looks forward to defending himself in court.”
Sentenced to up to 10 years behind bars by a Pennsylvania judge in 2018 after a second trial for the rape of onetime Temple University employee Andrea Constand, the now 85-year-old Cosby saw his conviction tossed out in June 2021. After a series of failed appeals and legal loophole maneuvers by the comedian and his ever-changing legal team, a majority of the Keystone State’s Supreme Court’s seven justices ruled last year that then-Montgomery County D.A. Bruce Castor’s decision not to prosecute Cosby in 2005 after investigating Constand’s original claim carried a binding legal weight.
Immediately losing his sex predator label and sprung from prison, Cosby cannot be retried on the same charges. On March 7 this year, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request to review the case, as had been petitioned by now Montgomery D.A Kevin Steele. That SCOTUS move effectively ended the Constand case baring any new and remarkable circumstances.
In September, Cosby lost his bid for a retrial over Judy Huth’s accusation that the comedian sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion when the plaintiff was a minor in the 1970s. A Santa Monica jury brought back a verdict for Huth in the long simmering civil case on June 21. The 12-person panel awarded Huth $500,000 in damages – money Cosby has refused to pay, as of yet.
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