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Bill Cosby to sue first black supermodel over rape claims

LAWSIT: Beverly Johnson

SHAMED COMEDIAN Bill Cosby is suing former supermodel Beverly Johnson for defamation over claims he raped her.

In his lawsuit, the former Cosby Show star says that Johnson, widely considered as the world's first black supermodel, claimed he had drugged and attempted to sexually assault her in the 1980s to revive her career.

Johnson said she was drugged while dining alone with Cosby at his house, however the 78-year-old comedian claims he only ever dined with the model while his wife was present.

The lawsuit alleges defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress, maintaining, "Her story is a lie".

"I am aware of the statements from Bill Cosby," Johnson said in a statement. "In cases of rape and abuse, abusers will do whatever they can to intimidate and weaken their victims to force them to stop fighting. I ask for your support of all of the victims involved."

The 63-year-old model is among more than 40 women who have come forward to accuse Cosby of sexual assault spanning over four decades.

Johnson, the first African-American supermodel to grace the cover of American Vogue, first made her accusation against Cosby in a Vanity Fair interview in 2014.

She claimed that in the mid-1980s, she went to Cosby's home to work on acting exercises, including one in which she acted drunk, when Cosby asked her to have a drink from his cappuccino machine.

She devoted a chapter to her story in her 2015 autobiography, The Face That Changed It All.

"I knew by the second sip of the drink Cosby had given me that I'd been drugged - and drugged good," she wrote.

Johnson said she struggled so much that Cosby took her out of the house and put her into a cab.

In a press release, Cosby lawyer Monique Pressley called Johnson's statements "an opportunistic attempt to resuscitate her own career and benefit herself financially from the wave of media attention surrounding her false allegations against Mr. Cosby."

Cosby is seeking unspecified damages, an injunction requiring Johnson to retract her statements, removal of the chapter about Cosby in future copies of her memoir and removal of the chapter from unsold copies.

This lawsuit against Johnson comes a week after Cosby sued seven of his other accusers, also for defamation.

In that suit, Cosby claimed that the women made "malicious, opportunistic and false and defamatory accusations of sexual misconduct against him," as well as "knowingly published false statements and accusations."

Cosby's lawyers have continually denied the allegations and no criminal charges have ever been filed, though Cosby has testified under oath that he purchased Quaaludes with the intention of giving them to women he wanted to have sex with.

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