Judge declares mistrial in Cosby case

BY    | Updated: Jun 17, 2017 at 3:24 PM
Actor and comedian Bill Cosby arrives for the sixth day of deliberations in his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby arrives for the sixth day of deliberations in his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S., June 17, 2017. Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

A Pennsylvania judge declared a mistrial on Saturday in the sexual assault trial of Bill Cosby after more than 52 hours of deliberation ended in a hung jury.

The 12 jurors in the case told Judge Steven T. O’Neill they were “hopelessly deadlocked” on a verdict after deliberating for six days. Prosecutors say they will move toward a retrial this year.

Cosby, who did not testify during the nearly two-week trial, was accused of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. At the time, she was a 30-year-old employee of Temple University, while Cosby, 66, was a university trustee.

Constand said in a deposition that on a visit to Cosby’s home outside Philadelphia, the comedian had given her three pills that rendered her paralyzed and nearly unconscious before he sexually assaulted her.

“In my head, I was trying to get my hands to move or my legs to move, but I was frozen,” she said during courtroom testimony last week. “I wasn’t able to fight in any way.”

Cosby faced three felony charges of “penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious, and penetration after administering an intoxicant without the subject’s knowledge,” The New York Times reported. Cosby, now 79 and legally blind, has said the encounter was consensual.

More than 60 women have alleged that Cosby sexually assaulted them at various points during the last four decades, though Constand’s case was the first to be tried in criminal court, in part because many of the previous allegations had exceeded the statute of limitations.

Cosby, an actor and comedian best known for his role on the “The Cosby Show,” has denied all allegations of sexual assault. However, he admitted during sworn testimony that was made public in 2015 that he had obtained quaaludes for women with whom he wanted to have sex. Cosby also continues to face at least four civil lawsuits from at least 10 other women who have accused him of sexual assault, according to Reuters.

Attorney Angela Agrusa, who is representing Cosby, said after the court’s decision that there wasn’t enough evidence in find her client guilty of the charges.

“We have worked very hard to present a case to this court, to this jury to these 12 people who worked tirelessly to listen,” she said. “This is what happens, juries are stuck when a prosecutor seeks to put someone in prison for things that are simply not presented in the courtroom. And the jury stuck to what they were asked to do and that is to review the evidence before them. And there simply wasn’t enough.”

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said during a press conference immediately following the judge’s ruling that he would move for a retrial.

“The judge made some indications in court that he was looking to put this on within the next 120 days,” he said. “Legally I think we have 365 days to try the case. We’re going to push it along. ”

Civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, who represents 33 other women who have said that Cosby assaulted them, encouraged survivors of sexual assault to report their experiences and “stay strong” in a statement outside the courthouse Saturday.

“It’s too early to celebrate, Mr. Cosby,” she said.

Corinne Segal contributed reporting.

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