Bill Cosby jury deadlocked in sex assault trial, judge tells them to try again
Jurors in Bill Cosby’s sex assault trial said they are deadlocked and cannot come to a unanimous consensus on any of the counts against the comedian.
Judge Steven O’Neill asked the jury, which began deliberating Monday evening, to go back to deliberating in another attempt to reach consensus.
“I am required to read you an instruction. The jury foreman has informed me that you are deadlocked,” O’Neill said. “If you are still deadlocked you should report that to me. If you’ve reached a unanimous decision on some of the charges, please report that back to me.”
So far, the jury has been deliberating for 30 hours.
The jury of seven men and five women began deliberating Monday evening and continued all day Tuesday and Wednesday. They were bused in from Allegheny County near Pittsburgh and have been sequestered in a hotel for the trial.
Jurors must decide if Cosby is guilty of three charges of aggravated indecent assault. Prosecutors say the famed comedian drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, the director of operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team, at his home near Philadelphia in January 2004. Cosby, 79, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
So far, jurors have asked six questions during their deliberations, largely to rehear testimony. Two questions asked to review parts of Cosby’s account to authorities, and two asked to rehear Constand’s account and testimony. Jurors also asked the court to define the phrase “without her knowledge” in one of the charges and asked to rehear testimony from the Cheltenham police detective who interviewed Cosby.
Prosecutors called 12 witnesses over a week of testimony but presented almost no forensic evidence. Cosby declined to testify in his own defense, and his attorneys only called one witness, who had already testified, for further questions.
Legal experts said the trial fits the “he said-she said” arguments so common to sexual offense cases.
The three charges accuse Cosby of assaulting Constand without her consent, assaulting her when she was unconscious and assaulting her using drugs to substantially impair her ability to consent. If found guilty, he could face up to 10 years in prison for each charge.
Though dozens of women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, only Constand’s accusations led to criminal charges. One other accuser, Kelly Johnson, testified that she was drugged and assaulted in 1996 as prosecutors sought to establish that Cosby had a pattern of assault.