Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Bill Cosby case ruled a mistrial

Bill Cosby exits the Montgomery County Courthouse after a mistrial was declared in Norristown, Pa., Saturday, June 17, 2017.

After a week of deliberations, the jury in the Bill Cosby trial declared it was hopelessly deadlocked and a mistrial was declared on Saturday. The judge said he would try to schedule a new trial within 120 days. It is not yet clear why jurors could not reach a verdict, or how close they came. "Do they want to save Cosby, or do what the first jury couldn't do, which was convict him?" He remains free on $US1 million bail.

District Attorney Kevin Steele could ask the judge to let more of Cosby's 60 accusers testify or disclose to jurors that accuser Andrea Constand is gay. "Once people say they are deadlocked, then what really becomes the reason for further deliberations?"

Dozens of women accuse Cosby of assaulting them, but statutes of limitation rules mean he was allowed to be tried for Ms Constand's allegation only.

The verdict came five days after spirited closing arguments in which Cosby was alternately portrayed as a man so intent on having sex with Constand that he used drugs to render her incapacitated, and as a man who had been framed by Constand and others in hopes of reaping monetary settlements in civil suits. "She's a very spiritual woman, she believes things happen for a goal, and I think the objective should encourage other women to come forward and have their day in court".

Cosby is not out of the woods yet, as the district attorney from Montgomery County, Penn., could choose to retry the case.

His depositions in that case, however, were unsealed by a federal judge in 2015, revealing his admissions that he had given sedatives to young women in the 1970s and prompting prosecutors to reopen the case.

Camille Cosby, the entertainer's wife of 53 years, slammed prosecutors for bringing the case to court, calling Steele "heinously and exploitively ambitious".

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Levenson believes the breakdown of the first Cosby jury is important to know, but perhaps not predictive of how the second trial might go.

"The others on the jury might have just been not persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt, although they were leaning in that direction, or there might've been members of the jury who were arguing in favor of acquitting", she said. "We are looking for reform, uncovering the rape culture in this country where victims are blamed and shamed".

Cosby, who faces at least four separate civil lawsuits, refused to testify at the trial. Cosby's legal team has now seen the prosecution's whole case and can home in on inconsistencies the second time around, they say.

'I can't wait to get back out there, because I have a lot to say.

Andrea later told police that he had drugged her in such a way that she could not keep her eyes open. Cosby pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Under questioning from her lawyer, Cosby acknowledged that he had obtained several prescriptions for quaaludes in the 1970s for the objective of offering the powerful sedative to women he wanted to have sex with.

"Do you agree there is a hopeless deadlock that can not be resolved by further deliberations?" he asked each juror.

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