NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania—By the time Lise-Lotte Lublin took the stand on Thursday, some familiar shared details between all the women’s stories were emerging. Like several others, Lublin met Bill Cosby as a young model. She wasn’t too interesting in modeling; Lublin said she did the work because she could use the money for the rest of her education. But then she heard that Cosby wanted to mentor her, and who wouldn’t accept mentoring from such a powerful man?
Like Chelan Lasha, who testified earlier this week, Lublin said she met Cosby at the Las Vegas Hilton, in the Elvis Presley suite. Lublin said Cosby asked her to do some improvisations. He then offered her some alcohol, she said, to help her relax. Lublin said she didn’t drink much but that, after Cosby pushed her, she accepted it. When Cosby offered her a second drink, Lublin testified, she said yes to that too.
“I kind of trusted him because he’s America’s Dad,” Lublin said, “and trusted him because he’s a figure that people respected for so many years, including myself. So he’s going to know more than I do, because I’m not an actor. So I took the drink.”
Within a few minutes, Lublin said, she got woozy and felt dizzy. Cosby, Lublin recalled, asked her to sit with him. She moved to him, and the next thing Lublin remembers is that her back was by his groin and his legs were by each of her arms.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Lublin said, her calm demeanor breaking as she spoke on the stand about what happened. “It isn’t appropriate and I don’t know what to do. This is only my second meeting and his legs are touching my arms.”
Lublin said she then recalls Cosby petting her hair. She could hear him, she said, but the sounds were muffled.
“I remember feeling very relaxed, and I continued to try to talk to myself—‘What are you doing? What does this have to do with improvisation? What am I supposed to learn from this?’” Lublin said. “’I don’t understand what is happening right now, and I don’t have the power to move or get up.’”
Lublin said her next memory is of waking up at home, where she thought she had been sick and lying in bed for the two days prior. Lublin said people asked her what happened with Cosby, and she told them that she assumed she had a bad reaction to the alcohol. But she hesitated to be alone with Cosby again, and invited a friend to come with her when the entertainer invited her to see him at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.
Lublin was calm and evenhanded, pausing a few times but quickly gathering herself; her testimony was in sharp contrast to the showmanship and quips of Janice Dickinson. Like Janice Baker-Kinney, Lublin said it was hearing the stories of other women who also said Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them that motivated her to speak out.
“I realized that something had happened after I blacked out. I don’t know what it was, but I believe I know what it was,” Lublin said. “There was a purpose for me to black out.”
As with other witnesses, on cross-examination defense lawyer Kathleen Bliss reminded jurors that Lublin’s lawyer was Gloria Allred, and that Allred had once called for Cosby to create a $100 million fund for all the women who said they had been assaulted by him. Bliss also questioned Lublin about the time that elapsed between Lublin testifying that she was with Cosby and drugged in the Elvis suite, which was 1989, and when Lublin talked to police in 2014. Any contact Lublin had with Andrea Constand also was probed.
But the biggest focus of Bliss’s cross-examination was the time gap that Lublin mentioned. She asked about it multiple times, and Lublin was honest. She doesn’t remember what happened during the blackout.
“I do not have any recollection, after I blacked out, of an assault,” Lublin said. “I remember what happened before I blacked out.”
In other developments:
Janice Dickinson testified that some of the craziest parts of her memoir are “poetic license”
The second half of Janice Dickinson’s cross-examination was as much about the stories celebrities tell us in their memoirs—and whether anyone should expect them to be true—as what happened that night when, Dickinson says, Bill Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her. (You can read about the first half here.)
A good chunk of Dickinson’s questioning by defense lawyer Tom Mesereau hinged on her book No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World’s First Supermodel. In it, Dickinson described meeting Cosby but didn’t say she was assaulted. Dickinson insisted on the stand that she did tell her ghostwriter and publisher Judith Regan this, but they told her she couldn’t say those things about Cosby because of how powerful he was. Both those people also have supplied declarations agreeing with Dickinson’s testimony.
Mesereau, though, wanted to get Dickinson to say “yes” to questions about whether she lied in her book. Dickinson refused, never once conceding that she lied. She insisted it was “poetic license,” and used the phrase over and over again, like when she insisted, “It was poetic license. I wasn’t sworn on a Bible.”
In another try, Mesereau asked, “But don’t you think poetic license means you’re lying?” Dickinson replied: “Do you know what it means?” She wouldn’t concede that she lied just to make money, shooting back to that question: “These books were frivolous episodics of my life. When I wanted to write the whole truth of my life, I was denied.”
The drug use she described at Studio 54? That was poetic license, along with an extended explanation to the court about how cocaine was everywhere in the 1970s. The part of her book the said she did heroin with Gia Carangi? Poetic license. The blue pills she mentioned in the book? Poetic license. Taking quaaludes with red wine in the 1980s? Poetic license.
“See, here’s the deal,” Dickinson said, before launching into a long explanation. “There is absolutely no way I could have been drunk all those times as you are trying to paint to do so and still do the covers of Vogue all over the world in every country and walk in famous designer shows and work all night long doing the editors photographs.
“I did catalogue work. I did commercial work. I did spokeswoman. I spoke at live car shows. There is absolutely no way I could appear drunk or connected with drugs and alcohol and keep those clients for a period of 10 years, which is a lot longer than most models survive in today’s day and age. No way. If they smelled it on my breath, they wouldn’t have hired me. If they saw it in me, they wouldn’t have hired me. It doesn’t matter what I say or what you are trying to insinuate.
“What my books says doesn’t matter. I have freedom of speech. I can say what I want. Today I am sworn on the Bible and I am telling the whole truth. So, yes, there is poetic license so the book can sell so I can earn a paycheck.”
When Mesereau asked her how much of her book was accurate, she replied, “It’s nonfiction.”
Expected on Friday
The prosecution’s case will continue Friday. Andrea Constand, the woman whom the entire trial is about, is expected to testify—but that could change, especially with the possibility of her having to stay under oath over an entire weekend.