Janice Dickinson’s glare hinted at what was to come between her and Bill Cosby attorney Tom Mesereau. As he tried to introduce himself before cross-examination, she looked at him from the stand, and icily exclaimed, “Good morning, Mr. Mesereau.”
For the next 30 minutes Thursday at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, PA, the pair went back-and-forth in what has so far been the most contentious testimony of the Cosby retrial, with Mesereau attempting to show she lied for money and the exchange meandering into references about O.J. Simpson, lawyer Robert Shapiro and Sylvester Stallone.
Dickinson, one of the country’s most famous models in the 1970s and ’80s, was the prosecution’s second witness today, the fourth day of the retrial, and the fourth accuser to testify.
When Mesereau began his cross-examination, she had already told prosecutor M. Stewart Ryan how Cosby in 1982 offered her a blue pill at dinner and took her back to his hotel room in Lake Tahoe, NV. There, she said, he got on top of her had sex with her while she was unable to consent.
“I remember his breath and taste of his kiss — just like cigars and espresso,” Dickinson said. “I remember here was ‘America’s Dad’ on top of me, a happily married man of five children. I remember thinking how wrong it was, how very wrong it was.”
Mesereau immediately brought up Dickinson’s 2002 memoir, No Lifeguard on Duty, noting the ghostwriter, Pablo Fenjves, also wrote Simpson’s tell-all, If I Did It. He read a passage about the night in Lake Tahoe and how the book details Dickinson stopping at the door and never entering the comedian’s room.
“You tell a completely different story in the book, right?” Mesereau asked.
Dickinson admitted she did but said she told the story of the alleged rape to Fenjves and her publisher, who recommended changing the passage to avoid issues with Cosby’s legal team. Fenjves has backed up Dickinson’s accusation, and she told Mesereau he should call him as a witness.
“It’s all a fabrication there,” Dickinson said. “I wanted the paycheck from the book.”
“So you made things up to get a paycheck?” Mesereau said.
Mesereau asked the question multiple times and attempted to portray Dickinson as a liar in other ways. He asked at one point whether she spread a rumor that she was pregnant with Stallone’s child.
“I was pregnant,” Dickinson said. “I had sex with two men that month. He wasn’t the only contender.
“He stayed with me throughout the pregnancy. And after the DNA test, and he wasn’t the father — thank God — I told him he wasn’t the father.”
Mesereau’s cross-examination of Dickinson will resume this afternoon.
Dickinson opened up in testimony for the prosecution about her early struggles in her modeling career and how, by 1982, the year of the incident with Cosby, she had made it. She was in Bali, Indonesia, when he called and invited her for a visit in Lake Tahoe.
At the time she was pursuing singing. Dickinson said she met Cosby and a vocal coach at a hotel. After singing for them, she went to one of Cosby’s shows and then had dinner. It was there, Dickinson claims, that Cosby offered her a blue pill to deal with cramps from her period. She took it and started feeling woozy. By the time she was in his bedroom, Dickinson said she could no longer move.
“I felt like I was rendered motionless, just immobile,” she said. “I was thinking, ‘What the heck, what the heck is he doing?’ I was just in shock. I didn’t consent to this. I hadn’t said yes.”
The next day, Dickinson said she approached Cosby and asked him about the previous night. She said he wouldn’t respond to her about it. Like the other accusers who’ve spoken, she felt shame over what happened.
“I wanted to hit him. I wanted to punch him in the face,” Dickinson said. “I remember feeling anger, disgusted, humiliated, ashamed.”