Norristown — The day before Bill Cosby's chief accuser was to take the witness stand at his sexual assault retrial, a former model and TV personality on Thursday gave jurors her own harrowing account of being drugged and raped by the comedy star in 1982.
Janice Dickinson, one of five other accusers who testified against Cosby, told jurors that the comedian gave her a pill he claimed would ease her menstrual cramps but instead left her immobilised and unable to stop an assault she called "gross."
"I didn't consent to this. Here was 'America's Dad,' on top of me. A married man, father of five kids, on top of me," Dickinson said. "I was thinking how wrong it was. How very wrong it was."
Dickinson's testimony helped prosecutors tee up a climactic courtroom appearance by Andrea Constand, the former Temple University women's basketball administrator whom Cosby is charged with drugging and molesting at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004. Constand was expected to testify Friday — the second time she will face a jury after Cosby's first trial ended without a verdict.
Cosby says his sexual encounter with Constand was consensual, asserting through his lawyers that she set him up to score a big payday. Cosby settled her civil suit for $3.4m in 2006.
ONE OF THE FIRST WOMAN TO GO PUBLIC
On Thursday, it was Dickinson's turn to tell jurors that Cosby had taken advantage of her after knocking her out with drugs. She said he smelled of cigars and espresso as he got on top of her in his Lake Tahoe, Nevada, hotel room.
Dickinson, 27 at the time, testified she felt vaginal pain and, after waking up the next morning, noticed semen between her legs. She said Cosby looked at her "like I was crazy" when she confronted him about what had happened.
"I wanted to hit him. I wanted to punch him in the face," she said.
A former reality TV personality who has called herself the "world's first supermodel," Dickinson became one of the first women to go public with her allegations against Cosby when she told her story on Entertainment Tonight in 2014.
She testified that she got to know Cosby after he called her agent and said he wanted to meet and possibly mentor her as she looked to expand her career into singing and acting.
She said Cosby invited her to Lake Tahoe after an initial meeting at his New York City townhouse, where he had given her an acting manual. Cosby tracked her down to Bali, where she was modelling for an oil company calendar, and asked her to Lake Tahoe "to further talk about my career."
In Tahoe, she tested out her vocal range with Cosby's musical director, watched Cosby perform and then joined the two men for dinner at the hotel. She said that's where she started to get cramps, and that's when Cosby produced a little blue pill. She took it and soon became woozy and "slightly out of it."
Cosby's musical director left, Dickinson said, and Cosby told her, "We'll continue this conversation upstairs."
Dickinson had a Polaroid camera with her, she said, and snapped photos of Cosby in the room wearing a colourful robe and talking on the telephone. Then Cosby pounced.
"Shortly after I took the pictures and he finished the conversation, he got on top of me," Dickinson said. "His robe opened up. ... I couldn't move.
"I didn't fly to Tahoe to have sex with Mr. Cosby," she said.
Dickinson, the only celebrity accuser to testify against Cosby, parried with defense attorneys who seized on discrepancies between her testimony Thursday and what she wrote about their encounter in her 2002 autobiography.
She told jurors she wanted to include details about the assault, but wound up telling a highly sanitised version in which there was no sex at all, let alone a rape, because her publisher told her the legal department would never let the allegations against Cosby make it to print.
Dickinson said she went along because she needed the money — and feared Cosby would ruin her career.
"It's all a fabrication there. It was written by ghostwriters. I wanted a paycheck," she said.
FIVE ADDITIONAL ACCUSERS CALLED TO THE STAND
Another accuser, taking the witness stand after Dickinson, said Cosby prodded her to drink two shots in his Las Vegas hotel suite, then had her sit between his knees and started petting her head.
Lise-Lotte Lublin told jurors she lost consciousness and doesn't remember anything else about that night in 1989 — a time when Cosby was at the height of his fame starring as sweater-wearing father-of-five Dr. Cliff Huxtable on America's top-rated TV show, "The Cosby Show."
"I trusted him because he's 'America's Dad,'" Lublin said. "I trusted him because he's a figure people trusted for many years, including myself."
Dickinson and Lublin were among five additional accusers whom prosecutors called to the stand to show Cosby had a history of drugging and molesting women long before he was charged with violating Constand.
The defense has dismissed the other women's testimony as "prosecution by distraction."
"These women proved that they were here to back up their sister — they got their sister's back," Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said Thursday outside court.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand and the other women have done.