Bill Cosby can't shake the doping and groping allegations that have dogged him for the past two months.
On Tuesday, the woman at the center of the accusations filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, claiming Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in January 2004 and then defamed her when she came forward with her charges.
The lawsuit also contains allegations of battery, infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy.
Cosby's lawyer, John Schmitt, released a statement saying the entertainer "will address this matter through the judicial process and not through the media." Cosby has previously denied the allegations.
The federal complaint comes four weeks after the district attorney in Cosby's home base of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, decided not to press charges against the entertainer, citing "insufficient credible and admissible evidence."
On Tuesday, the accuser's lawyers, Delores Troiani and Bebe Kivitz, insisted the lack of criminal charges won't hurt their case.
"It has absolutely no relevance here," Troiani told reporters outside the federal court building in Philadelphia. "It is not a comment on the validity of our case. It is not a comment on the credibility of our complainant. It is just not relevant whatsoever. We have a lot of additional evidence that has not made its way into the complaint or into the media."
There's a lower threshold of proof necessary for a civil case. And unlike a criminal case, where the defendant does not have to testify, Cosby could be compelled to take the stand in the civil action. There's also a possibility that Troiani and Kivitz will call other women who have accused Cosby of inappropriate behavior.
The accuser, a 31-year-old Canadian woman, says in her lawsuit that she met Cosby through her former job in the athletic department at Temple University, the comedian's alma mater, and that she viewed him as a mentor. (E! Online follows standard journalism protocol and does not disclose the names of accusers in sexual assault cases without consent.)
Per the suit, the woman had joined Cosby and other friends for dinner at a Philly restaurant in January 2004. After the meal, Cosby invited her back to his home in the suburbs to offer her advice about her future. While there, she told Cosby she felt stressed out and he allegedly offered her three blue pills he described as "herbal medicine." She says that after swallowing the pills, her "knees began to shake, her limbs felt immobile, she felt dizzy and weak."
Then, while she was "barely conscious," Cosby took her to a sofa, where, according to the suit, he "touched her breasts and vaginal area, rubbed his penis against her hand and digitally penetrated her."
She says she passed out and when she awoke at 4 a.m., her clothes were undone and she felt pain in her vaginal area. Cosby, the suit says, greeted her in a bathrobe.
The woman returned to Canada to pursue training in massage therapy. She did not report the allegations until this January, when she went to local authorities, who turned the case over to Pennsylvania police.
Her claims of defamation stem from an interview Cosby gave in the latest issue of the National Enquirer in which he suggested his accuser was looking for a payday.
"I am not going to give in to people who try to exploit me because of my celebrity status," he told the tabloid.
The suit claims Cosby called the woman and her mother at least four times after the accuser went to police and offered them money and a public apology, but she turned him down.
The woman's lawyers expect the case to head to trial in the fall. Said Kivitz: "This is a major step in the process for having closure for our client."