What to Know
The topless protester accused of charging Bill Cosby at the start of his sex assault retrial Monday has been identified as an NJ actress
Nicolle Rochelle, 38, was charged with disorderly conduct for leaping in front of Cosby; he wasn't touched but appeared startled
Rochelle appeared four times on "The Cosby Show" between 1990 and 1992, according to her IMDB page
The woman charged with darting topless in front of Bill Cosby ahead of the start of his sex assault retrial Monday has been identified as a 38-year-old actress from New Jersey who briefly appeared on "The Cosby Show" in the 1990s.
Nicolle Rochelle was charged with disorderly conduct for leaping in front of Cosby. Rochelle appeared four times on "The Cosby Show" between 1990 and 1992, according to her IMDB page.
She acted on the show under the name Nicole Leach. A friend confirmed the appearances.
The Little Falls woman is accused of disrobing and lunging in front of the comedian and his entourage as they walked into the Montgomery County Courthouse Monday morning. Her body was scrawled with the names of dozens of Cosby accusers as well as the words "Women's Lives Matter."
Television cameras captured sheriff's officers pulling her into a bush before she was handcuffed and led away.
Cosby seemed startled by the commotion as a half-dozen protesters chanted at him.
"The main goal was to make Cosby uncomfortable because that is exactly what he has been doing for decades to women and to show him that the body can be aggressive and empowered," she said afterward.
Rochelle, an actress, said she didn't have any bad experiences with Cosby when she was on the show, nor did she intend to physically hurt him. She is a member of the European feminist group Femen, which is known for staging topless protests around the world.
Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt praised deputies for their quick action but urged court officials to increase security.
"It's a different world. Things have changed," Wyatt told The Associated Press, referring to recent mass shootings and other episodes. "You never know who's going to want to make a name for themselves."
The disruption came ahead of opening statements, which were delayed while the judge sorted through allegations raised late Friday that a juror told a woman during jury selection that he thought Cosby was guilty. Cosby's lawyers want the juror removed from the case.
Prosecutors have lined up a parade of accusers to make the case that the man revered as "America's Dad" lived a double life as one of Hollywood's biggest predators.
Cosby is fighting back with a new, high-profile lawyer and an aggressive strategy: attacking Andrea Constand and casting the other women testifying as bandwagon accusers looking for a share of the spotlight.
"You've seen previews and coming attractions, but things have changed," said professor Laurie Levenson of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
Cosby's first trial last spring ended with jurors unable to reach a unanimous verdict after five days of tense deliberations on charges that the man who made millions of viewers laugh as wise and understanding Dr. Cliff Huxtable on "The Cosby Show" drugged and molested Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.
The 80-year-old comedian, who has said the sexual contact was consensual, faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison.