In case you don’t  read newspapers or magazines, or watch TV, or use social media or, you know, talk to people, you may not be aware that a lot of women have accused Bill Cosby of drugging and raping them.    Now some folks have concluded Cosby did it:

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And others aren’t so sure:   

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One of the hurdles for actually getting to the truth has been the simple fact that the events happened years ago – so the statute of limitations has passed on any criminal case against Cosby.  But that doesn’t mean he is completely out of the legal woods.  A woman named Janice Dickinson recently sued Cosby for libel. And the case will put the nasty accusations against Cosby directly at issue.   

Dickinson, now 60, had been a successful model in the 70s and 80s.  In interviews in 014, she claimed that at a dinner with Cosby in Lake Tahoe some years before, Cosby drugged her and raped her.  Cosby’s camp reacted by calling Dickinson a liar.  And that is the crux of Dickinson’s the lawsuit.  She claims the allegation that she lied is libel.  Meaning she needs to prove what Cosby’s camp said is false and that it damaged her reputation.   

So Dickinson will have the burden of proving the truth of her allegation (which would make Cosby’s statement false).  The common phrase “truth is a defense” in a libel suit, is only partially true.  The person bringing the suit actually has to prove the statement false.    

The burden isn’t technically on Cosby to prove his liar comment is true. Of course, if he can  establish the he didn’t drug and rape Dickinson, he wins.    

This is a civil case, so Dickinson does not have to prove her case “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  But if this case goes forward and if she wins, it will likely be one more nail in the coffin holding Cosby’s reputation.