Judge in Bill Cosby sexual assault case declares mistrial due to deadlocked jury
NORRISTOWN (KUSI) — After over 52 hours of deliberation, the jury tasked with reaching a verdict on the charges against Bill Cosby remained deadlocked causing the judge to declare a mistrial.
Cosby was charged for drugging and molesting a woman over ten years ago.
The jury failed to reach a unanimous decision on any of the three counts against the comedian, ending the trial without a verdict.
Excoriated by the defense for charging Cosby in the first place, District Attorney Kevin Steele vowed to put him on trial a second time, saying accuser Andrea Constand supported the decision.
"She has shown such courage through this, and we are in awe of what she has done," Steele said. "She’s entitled to a verdict in this case."
Cosby’s team declared victory, however temporary.
By sowing doubt among one or more jurors, Cosby’s lawyers managed to overcome two years of unrelenting bad publicity for their client after the public release of his damaging testimony about drugs and sex, as well as a barrage of accusations from 60 women who came forward to accuse him of sexual assault.
Constand told jurors Cosby gave her pills that made her woozy and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay paralyzed on a couch, unable to tell him to stop. The 2004 encounter at Cosby’s suburban Philadelphia estate was the only one to result in criminal charges.
The entertainer’s wife of 53 years, Camille, slammed prosecutors for bringing the case to court, calling Steele "heinously and exploitively ambitious" in a statement released after the trial. She also criticized the judge, the accuser’s lawyers and the media.
"How do I describe the judge? Overtly arrogant, collaborating with the district attorney," said her statement, which was tweeted by her husband and read by an associate of the public relations firm representing Cosby.
Cosby himself didn’t comment, remaining stoic as the judge declared a mistrial, but his spokesman Andrew Wyatt declared the star’s "power is back. It has been restored."
Cosby had broken barriers as the first black actor to star in a network show, "I Spy," in the 1960s and, two decades later, created the top-ranked "Cosby Show." He also found success with his "Fat Albert" animated TV show and starred in commercials for Jell-O pudding.
But it was Cosby’s reputation as a public moralist who urged young people to pull up their saggy pants and start acting responsibly that prompted a federal judge to unseal portions of an explosive deposition he gave more than a decade ago as part of Constand’s civil lawsuit against him.
Under questioning from her lawyer, Cosby acknowledged that he had obtained several prescriptions for quaaludes in the 1970s for the purpose of offering the powerful sedative to women he wanted to have sex with.
Cosby also said he gave Constand three half-tablets of the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl to help her relax before what he insisted was a consensual sexual encounter at his home. Prosecutors suggested he drugged her with something stronger.
The jurors clearly struggled with their verdict, telling the judge on Thursday they were at impasse. Judge Steven O’Neill instructed them to keep working toward a unanimous decision. On Saturday, they came back and told O’Neill they were hopelessly deadlocked.
The judge sought to comfort the jurors, at least one of whom fought back tears, calling their epic deliberation "one of the more courageous acts, one of the more selfless acts that I’ve seen in the justice system. … I feel bad for all of you, I really do."
He reminded prosecutors and the defense that "a mistrial is neither vindication nor victory for anybody."
A decade later, another district attorney reopened the investigation after his lurid deposition became public, and dozens of women came forward against one of the most beloved stars in all of show business. Cosby was charged shortly before the statute of limitations was set to expire.