UPDATED, 6:15 PM: The jury in Bill Cosby’s criminal trial has been sent home without rendering a verdict after four days of deliberation. It will return for Day 5 tomorrow at 9 AM ET. The action comes after the jury of seven men and five woman told Judge Steven O’Neill earlier Thursday that they were deadlocked in the case, raising the possibility of a mistrial. The judge told them to “try again,” sending them back to the jury room at the Norristown, PA courthouse.
PREVIOUS, 8:54 AM: Just a couple of hours into their third full day of deliberations, the jury in Bill Cosby’s criminal trial for the 2004 rape of Andrea Constand have said today that they are deadlocked. After close to 30 hours behind closed doors, the seven men and five women have been told by Judge Steven O’Neill to “try again,” according to court officials to try to avoid a hung jury.
After a week long trial in Norristown, PA that started on June 5, the once beloved and much accused 79-year old actor is facing more than 10-years behind bars for three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault against the then Temple University employee.
“If, after further deliberations, you are still deadlocked on some or all of the charges you should report that to me,” O’Neill told the jurors before they went back for more deliberations Thursday. Judge O’Neill has said he will not set a time limit in how long the jurors have to find consensus.
The judge also denied a move by Cosby’s defense team to have a mistrial declared, calling the motion “inappropriate at this time. Both Cosby and Constand were in the Norristown, PA courtroom when the jury came in to listen to the judge in the late morning East Coast time.
Thursday morning the seemingly exhausted jury said that they are unable to find unanimous agreement on any of the three charges in the trial that rested on June 12. Going late every night this week, the jury ended their deliberations last night at 9 PM ET.
If the Judge’s so-called dynamite charge doesn’t unlock the hold-out(s), then in what will essentially be a stay for Cosby and a blow to the prosecution, this could mean that this case is going to start up all over again but with a new jury. Montgomery County D.A. Kevin Steele’s office have up to four months to decide if they want to move forward with a new trial. During that time, Cosby would probably get the same $1 million bail that he has been on since being first arraigned back in December 2015.
Which also means all the sordid details of drugs and sex, emotionally raw testimony and bellicose defense that were the hallmarks of this case will be replayed again, with their impact lessened by familiarity to all but the new jurors here in the Montgomery Country courthouse. Of course, that supposes Cosby’s legal team don’t find a way to trip up that process and get everything stuck in a judicial or jurisdictional quagmire for The Cosby Show co-creator and star.
Prompted by the unsealing of a 2005 deposition in 2015, the suburb Philadelphia trial is the only criminal case in the nation against Cosby, who has seen more than 60 women go public in recent years with claims of being drugged and/or sexually assaulted by the actor in instances going back as far as the late Sixties. The statute of limitations in Pennsylvania on such sex crimes is 12-years.
On the stand for nearly 10-hours on June 6-7, Constand recollected in sometimes graphic detail what she says happened in Cosby’s home, the “mentor” relationship she thought she had with the actor beforehand, his previous passes at her and the aftermath. Constand’s appearance as a witness was the first time Cosby’s 44-year old accuser had publicly told her side of the events that transpired at the actor’s nearby mansion over 13-years ago. Throughout the entire trial in Judge O’Neill’s courtroom on the third floor of the Montgomery County courthouse, Cosby sat at the front at the defense table listening to the proceedings – as he was today.
While admitting in past depositions from Constand’s settled 2005 civil case that were read out to the jury that he gave Constand several Benadryl pills that January 2004 night, The Cosby Show creator always has proclaimed that the incident was totally consensual. In an often very loud and chair thumping closing argument by lawyer Brian McMonagle on June 12, the defense lawyer insisted that Cosby and Constand were actually involved in a romantic relationship.