By Daina Beth Solomon
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Model and television personality Janice Dickinson sued Bill Cosby for defamation on Wednesday, alleging the comedian falsely called her a liar after she publicly claimed that he sexually assaulted her 35 years ago.
Dickinson is one of the most well known of the more than 40 women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault, and at least the second to file a defamation suit. She is seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages.
In the complaint filed by attorney Lisa Bloom in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Dickinson alleges that Cosby, 77, intentionally inflicted "emotional distress" and destroyed her professional reputation. Cosby made a "choice to vilify and publicly attack Ms. Dickinson," according to the 13-page complaint. Cosby's attorney and publicist did not respond to requests for comment.
Cosby, best known for his "America's Dad" persona Dr. Cliff Huxtable on the top-rated "Cosby Show," has never been charged over any of the allegations. He settled a 2005 civil suit alleging sexual misconduct. In the complaint, Dickinson recounts a 1982 incident in which Cosby invited her to dinner in Lake Tahoe. She believed she was drugged and raped that evening, but did not tell police for fear of retaliation, according to the complaint. Dickinson came forward with the story in 2014, after women began disclosing similar episodes. In response, Cosby released statements disputing Dickinson's claims, including the comment: "Ms. Dickinson completely fabricated the story of alleged rape."
The lawsuit says that Dickinson's business prospects are suffering from what she considers a humiliation. The 60-year-old model became known for her reality TV show, "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency," which ran from 2006 to 2008. Her complaint mirrors that of another accuser, Tamara Green, who brought a defamation suit in Massachusetts against Cosby late last year. Green, a lawyer and former model, is seeking unspecified damages for statements that Cosby publicized denying her claims of sexual assault.
(Editing by Mary Milliken and Leslie Adler)