An African-American actress who has accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault has criticised the comedian's lawyers for citing racial bias in his defence.
The Cosby Show veteran has faced a string of historic allegations of inappropriate behaviour, drugging, and/or raping women in the past two years, and is currently set to stand trial in June (17) for a reported 2004 incident with former Temple University employee Andrea Constand.
Cosby has pleaded his innocence, and his attorneys have since accused prosecutors of embarking on a "highly-publicised crusade" against the actor, recruiting a number of other accusers, who are mostly white, to testify in the case and trigger "racist sensibilities" among the jury members.
The argument has not gone down well with actress Lili Bernard, who was among the 50-plus women to come forward with allegations against the funnyman since the accusations resurfaced in late 2014.
Bernard, who claims Cosby drugged and raped her after making an appearance on The Cosby Show in 1992, is not on the prosecutors' witness list, but she insists his racism defence is void as not all of his accusers are white.
"What about us black women, whom he sexually violated?" she asked in an interview on U.S. breakfast show Today on Tuesday (01Nov16).
Bernard, who did not report her alleged attack to police at the time, went on to blast Cosby and his legal team for belittling the work of civil rights protesters by bringing the question of race into the legal battle.
"He is paralleling my holding him accountable for his drugging and raping me to his being a victim of racism, to being a victim of a modern-day lynching," she fumed. "What that does is it denigrates the souls of the real heroes in the civil rights movement."
And Bernard insists Cosby has been making full use of his fame and fortune to dodge legal trouble over the years: "What is keeping Bill Cosby out of jail is not the colour of his skin; it's the (celebrity) power, it's the monetary worth."
Her comments emerged on the same day Cosby returned to court for a pre-trial hearing in Pennsylvania, where his attorneys are seeking yet again to have the case against him dismissed.
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