NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania—Janice Dickinson had finally become a successful model and wanted to try her hand at acting when her agent told her Bill Cosby wanted to mentor her.
“I was very excited,” she told a jury Thursday morning on the fourth day of Cosby’s trial on drugging and sexual assault charges. “He was ‘America’s Dad.’ He was very well respected from being on TV to being a happily married man with five children.”
They met up at Cosby’s townhouse on New York City’s Upper East Side and had a very pleasant dinner, she said, where they discussed her acting aspirations. Not long afterward, in 1982, she was on a photo shoot in Bali when she got a phone call from Cosby inviting her to come to Lake Tahoe, where he was performing, to talk about her career.
“I didn’t have the… confidence in myself to become an actress but I really wanted it,”she said. “I really wanted a career in acting.”
After a little bit of haggling—he wanted to pay to fly economy and she wanted first class—she agreed to go.
But instead of a mentoring session, Cosby drugged and raped her, she said over the next hour.
“I was raped,” she said, at one point calling Cosby a “monster.”
“I remember thinking, ‘Here was America’s Dad on top of me’; a happily married man with five children and I remember feeling how wrong it was, how very, very wrong it was.”
Dickinson was the fourth woman to testify at Cosby’s trial where he is accused of also drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand after a mistrial last year. Cosby denies Constand’s allegations as well as similar ones from more than 60 women.
Dickinson, dressed conservatively in a black pantsuit, was feisty during her time on the stand, holding her own against aggressive questioning by Cosby’s lead attorney, Tom Mesereau.
Dickinson said when she arrived at the hotel in Lake Tahoe there were several outfits laid out for her around her room, purchased at the boutique in the hotel. She went for a singing session with Stu Gardner, who wrote and produced music for The Cosby Show, then met Cosby and Gardner for dinner at the hotel restaurant that night.
“I drank some red wine,”she said. “I started to get menstrual cramps. I put my hand on my stomach and mentioned that… and Cosby said, ‘I have something for that’ and I was given a blue pill.”
Shortly afterward she started feeling “woozy and dizzy” she said and “slightly out of it.”
They finished dinner and Gardner left.
“Cosby said, ‘We’ll finish this conversation upstairs’ so I followed him to his room,” she said.
Dickinson took some photos of Cosby talking on the telephone with her camera—ones that were shown on the screen to the jurors—then sat on the edge of the bed.
“I was feeling really lightheaded,” she said. “When I spoke words wouldn’t come out… I wanted to say we weren’t discussing my career.”
The next thing she knew, she said, Cosby stool in front of her with his bathrobe open then climbed on top of her and raped her.
“He smelled like cigars and espresso and his body odor,” she said. “I couldn’t move. I felt like I was rendered motionless. Just immobile. I was thinking, ‘What the fuck?’ Sorry. ‘What the heck is he doing?’ I was just in shock. I didn’t consent to this. I hadn’t said ‘Yes.’”
That’s the last thing she remembered before passing out.
“I woke up the next morning in my room,” she said. “I didn’t know where I was… I looked down and I noticed semen between my legs and I noticed I felt anal pain. I took a mirror and looked at myself and could see I was very very sore. I remember having pajamas halfway on, halfway off with no bottoms on and thinking, ‘I am disgusted and I am in shock and humiliated.’”
Dickinson said afterward she went with Cosby to a house near Reno owned by the owner of Harrah’s casino that seems to be the same house where two other women said Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them in the early ’80s.
“I said, ‘Do you want to explain what happened last night? Because that wasn’t cool,’” Dickinson said. “And he said nothing and he looked at me like I was crazy… I remember saying, ‘You’re married. How did this happen? Why did you do it? I wanted to hit him. I wanted to punch him in the face. I can remember feeling anger. Disgust. Humiliated. Ashamed.”
Dickinson said she tried to put what happened in her 2002 autobiography, but it was removed after pressure from Cosby’s lawyers. She said she has sworn statements from the book’s publisher, Judith Regan, and her ghostwriter, Pablo Fenjves, saying she told them what really happened.
Mesereau, Cosby’s lead attorney, immediately began hammering away at her about not including the information in the book.
“Today I’m under a sworn Bible and I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t to tell my true story,” she said.
Mesereau went through a series of scandals and lawsuits in Dickinson’s life, including one she has against Cosby for defamation and one she has against Rite-Aid after a parking lot gate hit her on the head.
“You were asked what caused anxiety in your life,” he said, referring to medical records from the Rite-Aid lawsuit. “You mention your father. You never mentioned Bill Cosby?”
Dickinson refused to back down.
“I locked him away in a deep compartment inside my soul,” she said. “Abused women do that.”
Mesereau took over questioning the other accusers on Wednesday afternoon, launching a blistering attack on accuser Janice Baker-Kinney that spilled into Thursday morning before Dickinson took the stand.
He was arrogant, openly scornful, and at one point during cross-examination of Baker-Kinney even rolled his eyes at her as he tried to poke holes in her story.
“Are you rolling your eyes at me?” an incredulous Baker-Kinney asked him after she responded to one of his questions.
“Yes,” he replied.
Mesereau’s style was a marked contrast to his colleague, defense attorney Kathleen Bliss, who was aggressive in her questions of two other accusers but not disrespectful.