Cosby Accuser From 1965 Sues Him in Federal Court

Kristina Ruehli's allegations are the earliest to have surfaced against the comedian.

Kristina Ruehli in her 1967 wedding photo (left); Bill Cosby in an uncredited 1969 publicity photo | Wikipedia Commons (middle); Kristina Ruehli today (right)

Kristina Ruehli in her 1967 wedding photo (left); Bill Cosby in an uncredited 1969 publicity photo | Wikipedia Commons (middle); Kristina Ruehli today (right)

More than 50 women have come forward with sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, and the woman whose accusations go back the furthest — she says Cosby attacked her in 1965 — is now suing the comedian in federal court.

72-year-old New Hampshire grandmother Kristina Ruehli first told her story in an exclusive interview with Philadelphia magazine in November 2014. In short, she said she believed that Cosby drugged her and that when she awoke “all foggy,” he tried to force her to perform oral sex on him. She says she became ill and threw up in the bathroom and that when she was done, he was gone.

In the lawsuit filed in federal court in Massachusetts on Monday, Ruehli reiterates the details of the alleged attack and accuses Cosby of defamation. Immediately following the publication of our interview with Ruehli, Cosby attorney Martin D. Singer, who has since been replaced, issued a statement on Cosby’s behalf.

It reads, in part:

The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity.

These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years.

In the lawsuit, Ruehli says that Cosby falsely called her a liar through Singer’s statement, and that is the basis of her defamation claim.

“In making the false and defamatory statements, Mr. Cosby held Ms. Ruehli up to public scorn and ridicule, injured her good name and reputation, and caused her severe emotional distress,” reads the lawsuit. “…Mr. Cosby acted with hatred, hostility, ill will or evil motive.”

Ruehli is seeking unspecified damages.

“Kristina does not intend to try her case in the press,” says her attorney, Megan Deluhery. “Rather, Ms. Ruehli stands ready to tell her story to a jury of her peers, under oath, and to allow them to pass judgment and affirm that Ms. Ruehli’s account, like so many others, is true, and the only other person in the room that night in 1965 surely knows it.”

Ruehli’s suit is similar to those filed by some of Cosby’s other accusers around the country. Cosby has not commented on the lawsuits. He has never faced criminal charges and has denied all allegations.

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