Saturday 23 September 2017

Date set for Bill Cosby's retrial on sex assault charges

Andrea Constand said she never gave Bill Cosby consent to engage in sex acts with her (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Andrea Constand said she never gave Bill Cosby consent to engage in sex acts with her (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Bill Cosby will be retried in November on charges he drugged and molested a woman more than a decade ago, after a jury failed to reach a verdict after deliberating for six days.

Cosby, who turns 80 in July, was ordered to be ready for trial on November 6.

He is accused of giving a woman he met three pills that knocked her out before sexually assaulting her at his home near Philadelphia.

Cosby did not testify at the trial, but in a deposition in the woman's civil suit he called the encounter consensual.

Accuser Andrea Constand testified for seven hours over two days. She said she never gave the actor and comedian consent to engage in sex acts with her.

Instead, she said, she considered him a mentor. She was a 31-year-old operations director for the women's basketball team at Temple University, where he, then 66, was a TV star and the school's most famous supporter.

Her lawyer said she took the deadlock "better than anybody" and is not afraid to confront Cosby in court again.

"She will be absolutely ready," said Dolores Troiani. "She wants to see justice done and she wants to see this through. She was in the courtroom (after the deadlock) comforting everyone else."

Prosecutors found themselves back to square one on June 17 after the judge declared a mistrial. The Pennsylvania jury failed to reach a verdict in more than 52 hours of deliberations.

Cosby, in his deposition, acknowledged giving a string of young women pills or alcohol before sexual encounters over the past 50 years.

District Attorney Kevin Steele, who pursued the case after an earlier district attorney declined to press charges in 2005, is determined to put Cosby on trial again.

Ms Constand went to police in January 2005 to say Cosby had drugged and violated her a year earlier. She left Temple in March 2004 to return home to Toronto. She is now a massage therapist.

"In my head, I was trying to get my hands to move or my legs to move, but I was frozen," Ms Constand, now 44-year-old, said in their long-awaited courtroom confrontation.

"I wasn't able to fight in any way."

Defence lawyers Brian McMonagle and Angela Agrusa declined to comment on whether they would be involved in the retrial. Cosby's publicist did not immediately return a call for comment.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are sexual assault victims unless they give permission, which Ms Constand has done.

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