5th day of deliberations begins at Cosby's sex assault trial

Danny Woods
June 24, 2017

Bill Cosby is facing his fifth day of jury deliberations in a sex assault case involving Andrea Constand.

On Thursday the jury told the judge it was deadlocked on a verdict. The panel reported an impasse Thursday but was told by the judge to keep deliberating in hopes of reaching a verdict.

Jurors asked to rehear Andrea Constand's testimony about phone call records between her and Cosby, said Shari Botwin, a trauma therapist, who was inside the courtroom at the Montgomery County Courthouse.

Benedict Morelli, a prominent trial attorney who represented Tracy Morgan in the case against Wal-Mart, told Business Insider that the fact that the jurors asked the judge to clarify the concept of reasonable doubt means that it's likely one or two jurors are holding out against finding Cosby guilty rather than the other way around. Because the latest question concerned testimony that had been reread to the jury less than an hour earlier, the judge denied the request and promptly sent the jurors back into deliberations.

Constand testified that he Cosby drugged and molested her after he gave her three blue pills which she said left her paralyzed and unable to move. He is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault and faces a possible maximum sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison if convicted of the charges. She says she woke up to find Cosby on top of her, "forcefully" kissing her.

Legal experts said the trial fits the "he said, she said" arguments so common to sexual offense cases.

Cosby is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Constand at his home outside Philadelphia in 2004. Prosecutors have suggested he might have given her quaaludes, a highly popular party drug in the 1970s that was banned in the U.S.in 1982.

Meanwhile, Cosby's defense team called for a mistrial - their second motion since the jury announced it was deadlocked on Thursday at lunchtime - arguing that jurors have deliberated long enough and would not come to a unanimous verdict.

"They have already been deliberating for (four) days", Vinick says.

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Heading into Friday's round of talks, the jury had deliberated for almost 40 hours since getting the case Monday.

Mason said Constand didn't recall much after that and said that Cosby lied next to her and assaulted her.

This time, they wanted to revisit the testimony of Andrea Constand, the former Temple University sports director who has accused Cosby of drugging and assaulting her in his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

While the jury asked about Constand's initial police report, most of their questions zeroed in on Cosby's own words and admissions.

"There's a misperception that there's a time limit", said O'Neill, adding he'd let the jurors work as long as they wanted.

The panel got the case on Monday. In talking to Cosby, O'Neill alluded to issues being "explain (ed) out in the media" and wanting to "understand the decision for requesting a mistrial is yours and yours alone".

The jury tells the judge that it "cannot come to a unanimous consensus on any of the counts".

In that case, the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, district attorney could choose to retry the case, but it's unlikely that prosecutors would move immediately for an retrial, according to a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.

The statistics from the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN) approximate that there are almost 321,500 people who become victims and survivors of assault in America each year.

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