Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial got off to a memorable start Monday when a topless protester who used to act on "The Cosby Show" jumped a barricade and rushed towards the comedian as he was walking into a Pennsylvania courthouse.
The woman, identified as Nicolle Rochelle, had terms including "Women's Lives Matter" and “Rapist” written on her body, in addition to the names of Cosby's alleged victims. Cosby, 80, looked startled as Rochelle was tackled by sheriff’s deputies in a bush and arrested in front of him. She yelled "Hey hey hey, women's lives matter!" and called Cosby a "rapist" as deputies took her away.
Rochelle, 39, has been charged with disorderly conduct and could face a fine. According to her IMDB page, she is an actress who appeared in at least four episodes of "The Cosby Show." Early Monday, she posted a photo on Facebook of her standing outside a building she claimed was used as an exterior shot on the show. She was wearing a hoodie with the word "Rapist" written on it.
Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt told The Associated Press that security surrounding the case should be increased.
"You never know who's going to want to make a name for themselves,” he said.
The retrial is for three counts of aggravated indecent sexual assault against Cosby, who has been accused of rape by more than 50 women. The first trial ended last June in a mistrial because even after five days of deliberations, jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
The retrial is expected to focus on allegations that Cosby drugged and assaulted Andrea Constand at his Pennsylvania mansion in 2004. In 2015, Cosby was charged with aggravated indecent assault by Constand, a former Temple University basketball manager.
Constand initially sued Cosby and settled out of court in 2006 after the Montgomery County district attorney chose not to take action on the case. Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor didn't bring charges because he didn't think the case was strong enough to hold up in court, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
In the deposition for the civil case, he admitted to buying Quaaludes and giving women drugs and alcohol before sex. However, he claimed it was all consensual. The comedian and his family, including wife Camille, have blamed alleged racism and financial greed for the accusations.
In January, prosecutors asked that some of Cosby's other accusers be able to testify.
[Photo: Getty Images]