Bill Cosby accused of sexual assault in new lawsuit

Bill Cosby has been accused of sexual assault in a new lawsuit.

On Thursday, artist Lili Bernard, 57, filed a lawsuit against the 84-year-old comedian in which she alleged he drugged and raped her in a hotel room in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1990, when she was 26, after he promised to mentor her on The Cosby Show.

Bernard told The Associated Press that her decision to file the lawsuit was in part due to Cosby's release from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his 2018 sexual assault conviction in relation to a separate case. Cosby was released from prison in June after serving almost three years of the potential 10-year sentence.

Bernard's suit was filed in New Jersey before the expiration of the state's two-year window for victims of historical sexual assaults.

"When Bill Cosby was released, it retraumatised me, it terrified me. I was really horrified for any woman or girl that would come into contact with him," she told the publication. "The Pennsylvania Supreme Court let a predator back on the streets."

New Jersey's two-year window to file sexual assault lawsuits that would usually be considered too old to pursue closes next month.

Andrew Wyatt, a spokesperson for the comedian, slammed the state's historical sexual assault window in a statement.

"This is just another attempt to abuse the legal process, by opening up the flood gates for people who never presented an ounce of evidence," Wyatt said, insisting that Cosby maintains innocence. Wyatt promised to fight the allegations up to "the highest court in these United States of America".

In 2018, the Pennsylvania jury convicted Cosby of sexually assaulting Temple University sports administrator Andrea Constand at his home in January 2004. The conviction was overturned due to a procedural matter.