Jury deadlocked in Bill Cosby sex assault trial, ordered to continue deliberations

Ausiliatrice Cristiano
Giugno 19, 2017

Two drummers join a demonstration in support of victims of sexual violence outside the Montgomery County Courthouse where Bill Cosby is waiting for deliberations to finish in his sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S., June 15, 2017.

The jurors in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial on Thursday said they deadlocked and could not come to a unanimous decision on whether the entertainer is guilty of drugging and abusing his accuser, Andrea Constand.

The trial comes after repeated efforts by Cosby's lawyers to have the charges thrown out. Cosby's trial ended without a verdict.

With the jury struggling to find common ground, some of the other women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault confronted sign-waving Cosby supporters gathered on the courthouse steps to await the outcome.

The jury's note, delivered a few minutes after 11 a.m. on Thursday, raised the possibility that the closely watched case might end in a mistrial, leaving it to prosecutors to decide whether to seek a retrial. Cosby has denied any wrongdoing, saying in his deposition and an encounter with police that his encounter with Constand was consensual and that he gave her Benadryl.

There is no rule on how many times O'Neill can order jurors back to work under the Spencer Charge.

Constand is on board for the retrial.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele disagreed, telling reporters, "It's a terrific jury made up of people from all demographics".

The judge, however, ordered jurors to keep working. Judge Steven O'Neill told the jury he could not provide additional information.

The jurors have come back six different times with questions since they began deliberating.Most of their questions have been to ask for significant portions of evidence and testimony to be read back to them, including parts of Constand's testimony. This was the only case to result in criminal charges against Cosby. We can now wonder if a lot of those kinds of attitudes were at play in.

"He is not Cliff Huxtable", she said, referencing Cosby's dad role on his acclaimed 1980s sitcom "The Cosby Show".

As the jurors quit for the night Wednesday, O'Neill praised their diligence as they weigh charges that could put Cosby in prison for the rest of his life. Other jurors were harder to read. Such scrutiny remained largely absent from the sexual assault trial of CBC Radio broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi, where the focus veered toward the complainants' behaviour after the alleged assaults, of which Ghomeshi was acquitted past year. "We have said from the very beginning that this case is unprecedented".

She once served on a jury where the foreperson was the lone holdout for an acquittal. She believes the breakdown of the first Cosby jury is important to know, but perhaps not predictive of how the second trial might go.

In the civil deposition, Cosby admitted that he had previously obtained prescriptions for Quaaludes, a powerful sedative, with the intention of giving the drugs to women with whom he wanted to have sex. They cast Cosby as an unfaithful husband - but not a criminal.

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