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Bill Cosby judge declares mistrial as jury deadlocks again

Jurors deliberated more than 52 hours over six days before telling a judge they couldn’t come to an agreement.

Bill Cosby‘s trial on sexual assault charges ended without a verdict Saturday after jurors failed to reach a unanimous decision in a case that helped destroy the 79-year-old comedian’s image as “America’s Dad.”

Jurors deliberated more than 52 hours over six days before telling a judge they couldn’t agree on whether “The Cosby Show” star drugged and molested Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. The judge then declared a mistrial.

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

The comedian’s career and good-guy image were already in tatters by the time his chief accuser took the stand and described how Cosby gave her pills and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay paralyzed on a couch, unable to tell him to stop.

But the jurors clearly struggled with their verdict, telling the judge on Day 4 they were at impasse. Judge Steven O’Neill instructed them to keep working toward a unanimous decision. On Saturday, they came back and told O’Neill they were hopelessly deadlocked.

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

He did not take the stand in his own defense, leaving it to his attorney to argue Cosby and Constand were lovers sharing a consensual sexual encounter. Lawyer Brian McMonagle told jurors that while Cosby had been unfaithful to his wife, he didn’t commit a crime.

“We’re talking about all the man’s tomorrows,” said McMonagle, urging acquittal of an icon in the twilight of life.

Bizarre courtroom stories of Northampton County

Cosby broke barriers as the first black actor to star in a network show, “I Spy,” in the 1960s and created the top-ranked “Cosby Show” two decades later, starring as kindly Dr. Cliff Huxtable. He found success with his “Fat Albert” animated TV show and starred in commercials for Jello-O pudding.

But it was his reputation as a public moralist who urged young people to pull up their saggy pants and start acting responsibly that prompted a federal judge to unseal portions of an explosive deposition he gave more than a decade ago as part of Constand’s civil lawsuit against him.

In the deposition, released in 2015 at the request of The Associated Press, Cosby said he obtained several prescriptions for quaaludes in the 1970s and offered the now-banned sedatives to women he wanted to have sex with.

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

Constand, 44, initially 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 investigation after Cosby’s lurid testimony about drugs and sex became public, and dozens of women came forward against one of the most beloved stars in all of show business. He was charged shortly before the statute of limitation was set to expire.

McMonagle, in his closing argument, pointed out that Constand telephoned Cosby dozens of times after the alleged assault. Constand told the jury she was merely returning his calls about the women’s basketball squad at Temple University, where she was director of team operations and he was a member of the board of trustees.

“This isn’t talking to a trustee. This is talking to a lover,” McMonagle said of one call that lasted 49 minutes. “Why are we running from the truth of this case — this relationship? Why?”

He also tried to sow doubt about Constand’s story, saying it had evolved during her interviews with police.

But Steele, the district attorney, said it was no accident that some of Constand’s memories were faulty.

“There are some things in this case that should be fuzzy. Why? Because he drugged her to do this,” the prosecutor told jurors. “She spent a lot more time trying to forget what happened than trying to remember that night.”

Before going on trial, Cosby expressed hope he could eventually resume his career. But TV networks had long since scrapped plans for a comeback and pulled reruns from the air after his lurid deposition testimony became public.

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

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Judge in Cosby Case Declares Mistrial

NORRISTOWN (CNN) — The judge in the Bill Cosby trial declared a mistrial Saturday morning after the jury failed to reach a verdict in the case. The jurors, five women and seven men, were unable to come to a unanimous decision in a courtroom battle closely watched by the public as well as dozens of women who have accused Cosby of similar misconduct in the past. Cosby, 79, faced three charges of aggravated indecent assault. Prosecutors in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania […]

Bill Cosby jurors taking close look at his deposition

The jury in the Bill Cosby sexual assault case is in its 2nd day of deliberations in Norristown, Pa.

The jury in the Bill Cosby sexual assault case drilled down Tuesday on what t…

Will he or won’t he? Bill Cosby could take stand at sex assault trial

Cosby’s spokesman says maybe. His lawyers are staying mum.

Jurors at Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial have heard accuser Andrea Constand’s side of the story and have heard Cosby’s version in the form of his police statement and his lurid deposition in her 2005 lawsuit, but they don’t know if they’ll hear from him in person when his defense starts Monday.

Cosby’s spokesman says maybe. His lawyers are staying mum.

Experts say the “Cosby Show” actor and storyteller could charm the jury but the risk would be considerable.

“He could be a fantastic witness. … He’s an actor, and he’s a very good actor,” Duquesne University School of Law professor Wes Oliver said. “(But) he is potentially opening the door to a whole lot of cross-examination that they fought really hard to keep out.”

Prosecutors wanted 13 other accusers to testify, but the judge allowed just one, an assistant to Cosby’s agent at the William Morris Agency. That meant the prosecution rested its case Friday, just five days after the trial started.

Constand says Cosby drugged and molested her, which he denies. Cosby, who’s 79, could face decades in prison if convicted.

If Cosby testifies and denies drugging and molesting Constand or anyone else, the judge might allow more people to testify as rebuttal witnesses.

“It would be very bad for him for the jury to even begin to think about the other women,” Oliver said.

Not surprisingly in a “he said, she said” case, the defense’s main goal has been to attack the credibility of Constand and the William Morris assistant, Kelly Johnson. Johnson had corroborating evidence in the form of her 1996 workers’ compensation claim against the talent agency. A lawyer who worked on the case recalled her account of being drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby and had notes to back up his memory.

The defense seized on a glaring discrepancy in the account. The lawyer’s notes say the encounter occurred in 1990, while Johnson insists it was 1996, the year she left work and filed the claim.

The defense had more trouble trying to discredit Constand, a former Temple University employee. It hammered home the point that she was initially unsure what month the encounter took place and had regular phone contact with Cosby afterward. However, Constand proved unflappable, explaining that she had to return calls from Cosby, a university trustee, because he was an important booster and she worked for the women’s basketball team.

Constand left Temple when the season ended in March 2004 and filed a police complaint in January 2005 after moving back home to the Toronto area. She sued Cosby in March 2005 when the local prosecutor decided not to charge him.

Cosby’s four days of testimony in her civil case show just how hard a witness he’d be to control. His answers, like his comedy routines, meander from point to point and veer toward stream of consciousness.

Asked to describe what he called an earlier “romantic” encounter with Constand, he said, “The action is my hand on her midriff, which is skin. I’m not lifting any clothing up. This is, I don’t remember fully what it is, but it’s there and I can feel.”

“I don’t hear her say anything,” he continued. “And I don’t feel her say anything. And so I continue, and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection.”

And the language he uses to describe his sexual encounters with various young women can be jarring. He talks in the deposition of “the penile entrance” and “digital penetration.” He told Constand’s mother, when she called to confront him, that Constand had had an orgasm. And he might give off hints of arrogance.

“One of the greatest storytellers in the world, and I’m failing,” Cosby said when asked to repeat an answer in the deposition.

The defense could call other witnesses to try to bolster its argument that Cosby had a consensual relationship with Constand, 35 years his junior. It has stressed that Constand went to his house several times, went to New York and Connecticut to have dinner with him and others and spent about 15 minutes alone with him on a hotel bed.

Cosby, who built a wholesome reputation as a family man during his 50-year career in entertainment and was called America’s Dad, told police he held her in his arms that night but did not kiss her. Constand said he called her to his room to grab some leftover pastries.

The trial will move to closing arguments Monday if the defense chooses not to call any witnesses.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are sexual-assault victims without permission, which Constand and Johnson have given.

Bill Cosby charged with assault: What you need to know about the case

Why is the once-beloved comedian and actor being charged 10 years after the alleged assault? Everything you need to know.

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Wilkes University Taking Back Cosby’s Degree

WILKES-BARRE — Leaders at Wilkes University have decided to yank an honorary degree from Bill Cosby as the famed comedian continues to battle rape allegations, the first time an honorary degree has been rescinded in the school’s history. Students at the university have some strong opinions about that. In 2004, Wilkes gave Cosby an honorary […]

Talkback Feedback: Anger Management

What do you do when you’re mad at something you see on Newswatch 16? You call Talkback 16, of course. But what if you’re really mad? You take it one step further, like in Thursday’s Talkback Feedback

Bill Cosby said he got drugs to give women for sex

Cosby’s lawyers insisted that two of the accusers knew they were taking quaaludes from the comedian, according to the unsealed documents.

Bill Cosby admitted in 2005 that he secured quaaludes with the intent of giving them to young women he wanted to have sex with, and that he gave the sedative to at least one woman and “other people,” according to documents obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

Cosby’s lawyers insisted that two of the accusers knew they were taking quaaludes from the comedian, according to the unsealed documents.

Nevertheless, attorneys for some of the numerous women suing Cosby seized on the testimony as powerful corroboration of what they have been saying all along: that he drugged and raped women.

The AP had gone to court to compel the release of a deposition in a sexual abuse case filed by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand — the first of a cascade of lawsuits against him that have severely damaged his good-guy image.


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Cosby’s lawyers had objected to the release of the material, arguing it would embarrass him. Ultimately, a judge unsealed just a small portion of the deposition.

Cosby settled Constand’s lawsuit under confidential terms in 2006. His lawyers in the Philadelphia case did not immediately return telephone calls Monday. Constand consented to be identified but did not want to comment, her lawyer said.

“This evidence shows a pattern in which defendant ‘mentored’ naive young women and introduced drugs into the relationship, with and without the woman’s knowledge, in order for him to achieve sexual satisfaction,” Constand’s lawyer, Dolores M. Troiani, argued in court papers.

Cosby, 77, has been accused by more than two dozen women of sexual misconduct in episodes dating back more than four decades. Cosby has never been charged with a crime, and the statute of limitations on most of the accusations has expired.

“If today’s report is true, Mr. Cosby admitted under oath 10 years ago sedating women for sexual purposes,” said Lisa Bloom, attorney for model Janice Dickinson, who claims she was drugged and raped. “Given that, how dare he publicly vilify Ms. Dickinson and accuse her of lying when she tells a very similar story?

Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who is also representing several women, said she hopes to use the admission in court cases against the comedian.


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Cosby, giving sworn testimony in the lawsuit accusing him of sexual assaulting Constand at his home in Pennsylvania in 2004, said he obtained seven quaalude prescriptions in the 1970s. Constand’s lawyer asked if he had kept the sedatives through the 1990s — after they were banned — but was frustrated by objections from Cosby’s attorney.

“When you got the quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” Troiani asked.

“Yes,” Cosby answered.

“Did you ever give any of these young women the quaaludes without their knowledge?”

Cosby’s lawyer again objected, leading Troiani to petition the federal judge to force Cosby to cooperate.

Cosby later said he gave Constand three half-pills of Benadryl, although Troiani in the documents voices doubt that was the drug involved.

Cosby had fought the AP’s efforts to unseal the testimony, with his lawyer arguing that the deposition could reveal details of Cosby’s marriage, sex life and prescription drug use.

“It would be terribly embarrassing for this material to come out,” lawyer George M. Gowen III argued in June. He also said the material would “prejudice him in eyes of the jury pool in Massachusetts,” where Cosby is fighting defamation lawsuits brought by women who say his representatives smeared them by accusing them of lying.

U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno had temporarily sealed some documents in the Constand lawsuit but never ruled on a final seal before the case was settled.

Under federal court rules in Pennsylvania, documents must be unsealed after two years unless a party can show specific harm. Robreno ruled that Cosby’s potential embarrassment was insufficient.

Robreno asked last month why Cosby was fighting the release of his sworn testimony, given that the accusations in the Constand lawsuit were already public. “Why would he be embarrassed by his own version of the facts?” Robreno said.

Cosby resigned in December from the board of trustees at Temple, where he was the popular face of the Philadelphia school in advertisements, fundraising campaigns and commencement speeches.

Lawyer Gayle Sproul, representing the AP, in court last month called the married Cosby “an icon” who “held himself out as someone who would guide the public in ways of morality.”

Troiani, summarizing her evidence, painted a starkly different picture.

Cosby “has evidenced a predilection for sexual contact with women who are unconscious or drugged. His victims are young, ‘star struck’ and totally trusting of his public persona,” Troiani argued.

Bill Cosby won’t respond to sexual abuse allegation, lawyer says

Comedian Hannibal Burress assailed Cosby, calling him a “rapist” during a performance in Philadelphia, according to the Associated Press

Bill Cosby will not dignify “decade-old, discredited” claims of sexual abuse with a response, his attorney said Sunday, the first comment from the famed comedian’s lawyer on an increasing uproar over allegations that he assaulted several women in the past.

In a statement released to The Associated Press and posted online, lawyer John P. Schmitt said the fact that the allegations are being repeated “does not make them true.”

“He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work,” Schmitt said.

The renewed attention to a dark chapter for Cosby began last month when a comedian, Hannibal Buress, assailed him during a stand-up performance in Philadelphia, Cosby’s hometown, calling him a “rapist.” His remarks were captured on video and posted online, gaining wide exposure.

It was harsh criticism of the veteran entertainer known equally for his charming standup comedy, ethnically groundbreaking 1984-92 NBC TV sitcom “The Cosby Show” and demands for personal responsibility directed at fellow African-Americans.

Adding to the growing firestorm: One of Cosby’s accusers, Barbara Bowman, leveled allegations of sexual assault against him in interviews and in an online column for the Washington Post. Bowman wrote that in 1985, she was 17 and an aspiring actress when Cosby “brainwashed me into viewing him as a father figure, and then assaulted me multiple times.”

Cosby, who was never criminally charged in any case, settled a civil suit in 2006 with another woman over an alleged incident two years before.

He stonewalled National Public Radio host Scott Simon during an interview aired this weekend with Cosby and his wife, Camille, about their African-American art collection. Cosby fell silent when asked by Simon about “serious allegations raised about you in recent days,” which prompted the host to say, “You’re shaking your head, no. … Do you have any response to those charges? Shaking your head, no.”

Cosby also declined comment when asked by the AP about the allegations last week in Washington, where the Smithsonian Institution was opening an exhibit on the collection.

Cosby postponed indefinitely an AP interview scheduled for this week. It had been intended to discuss an upcoming Netflix project.

Whether the latest scrutiny will substantially affect his still-active career has yet to be seen. An appearance on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” was canceled, and another engagement, on “The Queen Latifah Show” on Oct. 30, was characterized by that show as a postponement granted at Cosby’s request.

He has standup performances scheduled, including one Sunday night in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a special premiering Nov. 28 for Netflix. Cosby has been in talks with NBC for a new family sitcom, featuring Cosby as the patriarch. No air date has been announced.

He has kept to his busy concert schedule despite the furor, with shows last week in Madison and La Crosse, Wisconsin; Rosemont, Illinois, in the Chicago area on Saturday, and Carnegie Hall in New York on Nov. 8.

An email request Sunday to Netflix on the status of its project with Cosby did not receive an immediate response. NBC declined comment.