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Five women file lawsuit against Bill Cosby, accusing him of sexual assault

The plaintiffs named the actor, Kaufman Astoria Studios Inc., The Carsey-Werner Company and NBC as defendants in the 34-page lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby.Dennis Van Tine / STAR MAX/IPx via AP file

Five women, including two actors who appeared on “The Cosby Show,” filed a lawsuit in New York on Monday, accusing disgraced comedy legend Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting them.

The plaintiffs named the actor, Kaufman Astoria Studios Inc., The Carsey-Werner Company and NBCUniversal Media as defendants in the 34-page lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.

"The Cosby Show," which ran from 1984 to 1992 on NBC, was filmed at studios now controlled by Kaufman Astoria and produced by Carsey-Werner, according to the civil action.

All the defendants are "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," according to the complaint.

NBC News does not typically identify victims of sexual assault, but the five women in this civil action all named themselves in the complaint.

  • Actor Lili Bernard, who appeared in a "Cosby" episode, said the defendant arranged for her transportation out of New York when he allegedly drugged and raped her — in New Jersey in August 1990 and then months later in Nevada.
  • Eden Tirl, who was offered a small role on "Cosby" despite having no acting experience, accused Cosby and producers of pressuring her numerous times to have lunch with him in his private dressing room in 1989. When she relented, Cosby allegedly "touched her breasts and without her consent forcibly pressed his penis into" her back, according to the suit.
  • Aspiring actor Jewel Gittens said that in “or around the late 1980s,” Cosby invited her to his home in Manhattan where she was given what she says was a tainted glass of wine. She says she felt sluggish as Cosby allegedly sexually assaulted her with his finger and "ejaculated from the sexual encounter."
  • Aspiring model Jennifer Thompson said she was 18 in the late 1980s when Cosby allegedly grabbed her "hand and forcefully placed it on his penis" and made the victim "masturbate him without her consent" at the actor's Manhattan home, according to the lawsuit.
  • Cindra Ladd, a "platonic" friend of Cosby's said the actor drugged her in "approximately 1969" and allegedly raped her while she was passed out.

The lawsuit did not name a dollar figure sought by the plaintiffs.

Cosby's spokesman Andrew Wyatt called the civil action "frivolous" and accused plaintiffs of seeking a payout.

"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," Wyatt said in a statement.

"Mr. Cosby continues to vehemently deny all allegations waged against him and looks forward to defending himself in court."

A spokeswoman for defendant NBC Universal Media LLC, the parent company of NBC News, declined comment.

Reps for the other two defendants could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.

Cosby was released from a Pennsylvania prison on June 30 last year after the state's high court overturned his conviction on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault in 2018.

The state Supreme Court ruled that Cosby's rights against self-incrimination were violated when a prosecutor declined to press a case against the actor in 2014, allowing "America's Dad" to speak freely in a civil lawsuit.

But a second prosecutor in the same jurisdiction later used the lawsuit testimony in a criminal trial, and that testimony was key in his conviction for drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004.

Cosby spent nearly three years behind bars before the state high court's ruling.