Janice Dickinson, the former model who says Bill Cosby drugged and raped her in 1982 in Lake Tahoe, is the latest of his many accusers to announce a settlement with his insurance company over the defamation civil suit she filed against him.
She wouldn't say how much money she got but her attorney, Lisa Bloom, said it was "epic," during a triumphant press conference at Bloom's Los Angeles-area office Thursday.
"It's a powerful statement from his insurance company, AIG, over his objections," Bloom told reporters.
Dickinson, 64, among the most angry and passionately outspoken of Cosby's accusers, called the imprisoned former TV icon the "monster of the century of the world," and exulted in his conviction last year on three sex crimes in Pennsylvania (involving a different accuser).
"Jail is where he belongs, there are not enough years left for him to pay for what he has done to so many, many women," Dickinson said. Cosby, 82, is in a prison about 20 miles outside Philadelphia; his conviction is being appealed.
"Sisters, my advice to you is never, ever give up ever, tell your story and stand up for your rights," Dickinson said.
Bloom said Dickinson and dozens of other Cosby accusers don't get enough credit for being the "pioneers" who "paved the way" for the #MeToo movement. Most of them came forward with decades-old accusations against Cosby three years before the movement was turbo-charged in the fall of 2017 by allegations against fallen movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
"This is a victory press conference," Bloom said. "Cosby is in prison, justice is possible, justice is attainable. I urge all (accusers) to stand up for your rights."
Dickinson filed a civil suit against Cosby in 2015, accusing Cosby and his then-legal team of defaming her by denying he had drugged and raped her, thus "labeling me a liar."
As with eight other accusers before her who settled defamation suits with AIG since Cosby's conviction, Cosby objected to the settlement. His spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, issued a statement, calling AIG the "worst and (most) egregious insurance company in America’s history."
"To be clear, AIG’s settlement of this lawsuit has no bearing whatsoever on the merit of Ms. Dickinson’s claims," the statement said. "Mr. Cosby has every confidence that, had the case proceeded to trial, a jury would have found that the statements issued by his former attorney – statements which Mr. Cosby himself never spoke and which he played no part in preparing – were not defamatory.
"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," the statement added.
Bloom stressed that though the amount of the settlement is confidential, nothing else about it is. That means Dickinson does not have to go silent for fear of violating a non-disclosure clause.
"It's a very large settlement amount, Janice will be fully and fairly compensated for being branded a liar," Bloom said. "She is free to tell her story whenever she wants, we would never agree to confidentiality (on that point)."
Dickinson has been anything but silent since she first went public with her accusation against Cosby in late 2014. In fact, she was one of five accusers who testified against Cosby at his second trial in April 2018 as "prior bad act witnesses" to help bolster the allegations of a pattern of past behavior by Cosby.
That testimony, which helped convict Cosby, is one of the main objections Cosby's lawyers have cited in appealing his conviction; a hearing on the appeal is scheduled for Aug. 12 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Only one such witness testified at his first trial in 2017, which ended with a mistrial when the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision.
Bloom and Dickinson urged state lawmakers to eliminate all statutes of limitation on sex crimes, calling on Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden by name to make that an issue in the 2020 campaign.
"When you rob someone of their innocence, how can you put a statute of limitations on that?" Dickinson cried.
Bloom said Dickinson "became a warrior for justice and she never gave up. I salute you and honor you and it's been a privilege to represent you," she said, presenting Dickinson with a huge bouquet of flowers.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bill Cosby accuser Janice Dickinson got 'epic' insurance settlement