Cosby sued for saying accuser lied

Actor Bill Cosby.
Actor Bill Cosby. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • A New Hampshire woman who accused Bill Cosby last year of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 1965 has sued the entertainer, contending that he wrongly branded her a liar after she came forward.

In a federal lawsuit, filed on Monday in Massachusetts, Ms Kristina Ruehli says Cosby, through his former lawyer Martin D. Singer, defamed her in a statement he released after Philadelphia Magazine published an article in November 2014 about her accusations.

In her suit, Ms Ruehli, 72, says she met Cosby in 1965 when she was a 22-year-old secretary at a talent agency. She contends that Cosby invited her to his home, where he gave her drinks and she later passed out.

After "an unknown period of time", the suit says, she regained consciousness and found herself lying on a bed, naked, with Cosby trying to force her to give him oral sex. She says she became nauseated and vomited. Based on her experience and the accounts of other women, she says, she now believes that Cosby had slipped a drug into her drink.

Cosby, 78, who has been accused by dozens of women of sexual assault, faces three other defamation suits filed by women in California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. He has denied all wrongdoing and has never been charged with a crime.

Ms Ruehli says in the lawsuit that she came forward to support other women who had decided to accuse Cosby publicly.

After her accusations were published in the magazine, the suit says, Mr Singer released a statement in which he called the women's accusations "unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago".

Ms Ruehli says Mr Singer's reference to "even 50 years ago" was directed at her. His statement is cited in the suits in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Mr Andrew Wyatt, a spokesman for Cosby, said the entertainer's legal team had no comment.

Ms Ruehli's lawyer, Ms Megan Deluhery, said in a statement that "Ms Ruehli stands ready to tell her story, under oath, to a jury of her peers and allow them to pass judgment and affirm that Ms Ruehli's account, like so many others, is true, and the only other person in the room that night in 1965 surely knows it".

New accusations and lawsuits against Cosby have been surfacing since July, when excerpts from a deposition he gave in a 2005 civil case became public.

In the deposition - for a case brought by Ms Andrea Constand, who said Cosby had drugged and molested her - he comes off as a cavalier playboy who unapologetically pursued women for sex and obtained powerful sedatives to use as party drugs.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2015, with the headline 'Cosby sued for saying accuser lied'. Print Edition | Subscribe