A Pennsylvania judge declared a mistrial Saturday in the case against Bill Cosby after a jury was unable to come to a unanimous decision, an inconclusive finale to one of the most high-profile sexual assault cases in years.
Cosby was charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault in an incident involving former Temple University basketball staffer Andrea Constand at his home in suburban Philadelphia in 2004.
Over the last 10 days, jurors heard the entertainer’s defense that the encounter was consensual, while Constand, taking the stand and facing Cosby for the first time, testified that Cosby drugged her and robbed her of the ability to consent.
Had he been found guilty, Cosby, 79, would have faced a maximum of 10 years in prison on each count.
Prosecutors said immediately they would retry the case, and Judge Steve T. O’Neill said he would try to schedule a new trial within 120 days.
The judge had sent jurors back for more deliberations Thursday after they initially reported they were deadlocked.
The jury asked for several portions of testimony to be reread, including Cosby’s admissions in the past that he had offered Qaaludes to women. Later, jurors requested a definition of “reasonable doubt.”
The judge concluded Saturday that they could not reach a verdict.
“Do you agree that there’s a hopeless deadlock that cannot be resolved by further deliberations?” he asked after calling the jurors in a little after 10 a.m. EDT. All jurors said yes, and O’Neil said, “After 52 hours of deliberation, which is probably one of the most courageous, selfless acts I’ve ever seen in the criminal justice system, I’m compelled to grant a mistrial.”
Outside the courtroom, various factions reacted to the mistrial ruling.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents many of the Cosby accusers, said, “We can never overestimate the blinding power of celebrity. But justice will come.”
She added, “It’s too early to celebrate, Mr. Cosby.”
SOURCE: Steven Zeitchik
The Los Angeles Times