Saturday, 17 June 2017

Bill Cosby sexual assault trial ends in mistrial as jury remain deadlocked after 6 days

Bill Cosby, center, stands with his spokesman Andrew Wyatt, left, outside of the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. Credit Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial ended Saturday in mistrial with a jury that was still deadlocked on all counts after six days of deliberations.

The exhausted jurors had been deliberating since Monday, sometimes for as much as 12 hours a day and ended up with no decision on Saturday.

The decision denied a measure of vindication either to Cosby or to the dozens of women who have accused him of assaulting them.

New York Times reports that in their sixth day of deliberations, jurors sent word to Judge Steven T. O’Neill that they could not reach a unanimous verdict on the charges that in 2004, Cosby, one of the world’s best-known entertainers, drugged and assaulted Andrea Constand in his home near here.

The Montgomery County District Attorney, Kevin R. Steele, immediately announced that he planned to retry the case.

Cosby, 79, reacted calmly to the decision, rubbing his face at one point, while Ms. Constand stared straight ahead. 
Andrea Constand leaving the courthouse on Saturday after the judge declared a mistrial. Credit Ed Hille/Pool, via Reuters

After Cosby and his two lawyers filed out, Ms. Constand stood in the courtroom surrounded by four other women who had accused Cosby of assault. She looked calm as some of the other women wept, but her lawyer, Dolores Troiani, spoke for her, saying they were looking forward to a retrial.
“We will get to do it again,” she said.

The case turned largely on the credibility of Ms. Constand, a former Temple University employee. She testified that the assault occurred in a visit to the home of Mr. Cosby, who was a Temple trustee, when she was 30 and he was 66. She said that Cosby gave her pills that he said were herbal, but that left her immobile and drifting in and out of consciousness. He has said that he only gave her Benadryl.

“I was jolted awake and I felt Cosby’s hand groping my breasts under my shirt,” she testified last week. “I also felt his hand inside my vagina moving in and out, and I felt him take my hand and place it on his penis and move it back and forth.”

Cosby was charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault — penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious, and penetration after administering an intoxicant without the subject’s knowledge. Each is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in state prison.

The jury of 12 was composed of six white men, four white women, one black woman and one black man. 

They had reported being deadlocked on Thursday but then had resumed deliberations at the request of the judge. As it turned out, the deliberations ended up taking longer than the presentation of evidence had.

Source: New York Times

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