Sunday 23 July 2017

Bill Cosby's sex case will be retried, as judge declares mistrial

Bill Cosby exits the Montgomery County Courthouse after a mistrial in his sexual assault case in Norristown, Pa. Cosby's trial ended without a verdict after jurors failed to reach a unanimous decision. Photo: AP
Bill Cosby exits the Montgomery County Courthouse after a mistrial in his sexual assault case in Norristown, Pa. Cosby's trial ended without a verdict after jurors failed to reach a unanimous decision. Photo: AP

Mary Clare Dale in Pennsylvania

Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial ended without a verdict yesterday after jurors failed to reach a unanimous decision.

Jurors deliberated for more than 52 hours over six days before telling a judge they could not agree whether The Cosby Show actor (79) drugged and molested Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his home in Philadelphia in 2004. The Pennsylvanian judge then declared a mistrial.

Prosecutors said they would retry Cosby, who remains charged with aggravated indecent assault.

Cosby's accuser described in court how he gave her pills then sexually assaulted her as she lay paralysed on a couch, unable to tell him to stop.

But the jurors struggled with their verdict, telling the judge on day four of the trial that they were at impasse. Judge Steven O'Neill instructed them to keep working toward a unanimous decision.

Yesterday, they came back and told the judge they were hopelessly deadlocked.

It was the only criminal case to arise from claims from more than 60 women that cast Cosby, who has been married more than 50 years, as a serial predator who gave drugs to women before violating them.

He did not give evidence, leaving it to his lawyer Brian McMonagle to argue Cosby and Constand were lovers and the encounter was consensual.

McMonagle told jurors that while Cosby had been unfaithful to his wife, he did not commit a crime. He pressed for an acquittal for the actor and said: "We're talking about all the man's tomorrows."

Cosby was the first black actor to star in a network show, I Spy, in the 1960s and created The Cosby Show two decades later.

In a deposition he gave more than a decade ago as part of Constand's civil lawsuit against him, Cosby said he obtained several prescriptions for the sedative Quaalude in the 1970s and offered the now-banned drug to women with whom he wanted to have sex.

He said he gave Constand three half-tablets of the allergy medicine Benadryl before the "petting" began. Prosecutors suggested he drugged her with something stronger.

Constand (44) went to police about a year after she said Cosby assaulted her but a prosecutor declared her case too weak to bring charges.

A decade later, a new district attorney reopened the case after Cosby's lurid testimony became public and dozens of women came forward against him. He was charged shortly before the statute of limitation was set to expire.

Sunday Independent

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