Janice Dickinson says she settled a defamation lawsuit against Bill Cosby with his insurer for an 'epic' sum

Dickinson is reportedly the ninth woman to settle with the comedian's insurer.

July 25, 2019, 5:26 PM

Former supermodel Janice Dickinson, who testified last year at comedian Bill Cosby's sex assault trial that he drugged and raped her in a Lake Tahoe hotel room in 1982 -- announced at a California press conference on Thursday that she had reached a settlement with Cosby's insurance company after suing the imprisoned actor for defamation.

"Sisters, my advice to you is never, ever give up, ever, tell your story and stand up for your rights," the actress, model and author said at the press conference, standing beside her civil attorney, Lisa Bloom.

Both women declined to specify the exact amount of the settlement, but Bloom described the "epic" figure as a "very large settlement amount."

A spokesman for Cosby's insurer, AIG, declined to confirm the settlement or otherwise comment on Dickinson or numerous other women who have said they settled lawsuits against Cosby with AIG.

Dickinson first went public with her accusation against Cosby in 2014. Cosby's representatives denied her claim and called her a "liar," and the following year she sued him for defamation.

Last year, Dickinson testified about the alleged attack, in a case involving a different accuser, Andrea Constand.

“Here was 'America’s Dad' on top of me -- a happily married man with five children,” Dickinson testified in Montgomery County Court in Norristown. "And I remember thinking how wrong it was -- how very, very wrong."

She told the jury that she passed out during the assault, saying, "It was gross."

Bill Cosby is escorted out of the Montgomery County Correctional Facility Tuesday Sept. 25, 2018 in Eagleville, Pa., following his sentencing for sexual assault.
Jacqueline Larma/AP

Dickinson said she confronted Cosby the day after the alleged assault, but he did not acknowledge it occurred.

"I wanted to hit him," she testified. "I wanted to punch him in the face."

Cosby had at least $37 million in insurance coverage through AIG, including two $1 million homeowner’s policies and a $35 million umbrella policy protecting him from personal injury or property damage claims, according to The Associated Press. After numerous women sued Cosby for defamation, AIG argued that the policies did not cover sexual misconduct claims.

But last year, a federal appeals court in Massachusetts ruled that the defamation claims were distinct from the sexual misconduct claims underlying them, and that AIG must pay.

Those settlements between AIG and the women suing Cosby for defamation -- as well as the settlement with Dickinson -- were reached over the objections of Cosby himself, according to a statement the comedian's spokesman released.

When the multiple settlements were reached in April, Cosby's spokesman Andrew Wyatt charged in a tweet that the settlements were reached "without the knowledge, permission and/or consent of Mr. Cosby."

Wyatt made similar claims on Thursday in reference to the Dickinson settlement.

“AIG’s apparent strategy to have Mr. Cosby tried exclusively in the court of public opinion has become clear, and its decision to settle each of these lawsuits over Mr. Cosby’s objections is illustrative of AIG’s bad faith," Wyatt said in a statement.

The comedian insists the Dickinson settlement "has no bearing whatsoever on the merit of Ms. Dickinson’s claims," Wyatt added.

A total of nine women have reached financial settlement's with AIG after filing civil lawsuits against Cosby, according to USA Today.

Dickinson's turn on the witness stand proved to be one of the most combative and colorful interludes of the entire trial, which ended with Cosby's conviction on three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He is currently serving time in a Pennsylvania prison about 20 miles outside of Philadelphia.

Tom Mesereau, lawyer for actor and comedian Bill Cosby, leaves the courtroom during the third day in Cosby's sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse April 11, 2018 in Norristown, Pa.
Dominick Reuter/Pool via Getty Images

Under cross-examination, Cosby's defense attorney Tom Mesereau pointed out that her description of the alleged attack differed sharply from the Lake Tahoe encounter with Cosby she described in her 2002 ghostwritten memoir, "No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World's First Supermodel."

Holding up a copy of her book, Mesereau cited passages in which she described rebuffing Cosby’s advances in Lake Tahoe, then “popping two Quaaludes and going to sleep” alone in her own hotel room.

Dickinson acknowledged that she concocted stories in the book in order to get a much-needed paycheck.

"It's all a fabrication there because I wanted the paycheck for my kids," Dickinson testified, adding that her ghostwriter took "poetic license” with her life story.

Seizing on her answer, Mesereau replied, “So you made things up to get a paycheck?”

Bill Cosby walks towards the courtroom after a break in the Montgomery County Courthouse on the fourth day of his sexual assault retrial on April 12, 2018 in Norristown, Pa.
Mark Makela/Pool via AFP/Getty Images

Appearing angry, Dickinson responded, "They weren’t there! And you weren’t there! And I’m telling the real story!"

She continued: “I put my hand on the Bible and I swore. I wasn’t under oath when I wrote the book."

Earlier, during direct questioning, Dickinson testified that she decided to cut from her book the story of being sexually assaulted by Cosby after her publisher, Judith Regan, warned her it could ruin her career.

When Regan took the witness stand at the same trial, she backed up Dickinson's account.

“That story would be impossible to publish," said of Dickinson's rape allegation. "It would require corroboration, and at that time corroboration would have meant a witness,” Regan testified. “In this particular incident, the legal department, not Janice Dickinson, decided it could not be accommodated."

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