The judge in the Bill Cosby trial declared a mistrial Saturday 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 faced three charges of aggravated indecent assault.
Here are the latest developments following the mistrial:
• Prosecutors announced they will retry the case.
• A spokeswoman for the comedian read a statement from his wife, Camille Cosby, who criticized prosecutors, the judge and the media.
[Previous story, posted at 10:32 a.m. ET]
After 52 hours of deliberation, jurors in Bill Cosby’s trial began their six day of deliberations Saturday morning.
“We’ve been at this now for 10 days (including testimony). There has been nothing but a supreme effort on your part,” Judge Steven O’Neill told the jury on Friday.
“Go through your routines, which have probably become very habitualized at this point.”
As the 79-year-old comedian exited the courthouse Friday, he talked to the cameras and crowds outside. “I just want to wish all of the fathers a Happy Father’s Day and I want to thank all of the jury for their long days, their honest work individually,” Cosby said.
He said, “I also want to thank the supporters who’ve been here and please to the supporters, stay calm, do not argue with people, just keep up the great support. Thank you all. Thank you.”
In all, jurors have asked 12 questions of the court during deliberations, essentially asking to hear the evidence for a second time. The jury’s continued questions leave open the possibility that jurors may remain deadlocked and unable to reach a unanimous verdict on any of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault that Cosby faces.
One of the questions from Friday was: “What is reasonable doubt?”
Prosecutors say Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, the former director of operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team, at his home near Philadelphia in January 2004. Cosby pleaded not guilty to the charges.
On Thursday, jurors told the court they could not come to a unanimous decision beyond a reasonable doubt, which is required in criminal cases.
O’Neill asked the jury to go back into deliberations for another attempt to reach a verdict, an instruction known in Pennsylvania as the Spencer Charge. It’s a set of instructions that asks jurors to re-examine their own views and opinions, and there is no limit to how many times a judge can issue it.
Here's what happens now that Bill Cosby's jury is deadlocked
If, after further deliberations, jurors still cannot reach consensus, the judge can choose to declare a mistrial. Defense attorneys have repeatedly asked for O’Neill to declare a mistrial based on the jury’s length of deliberations, but the judge has denied their request.
“I’m going to allow this to go as long as this jury wishes to continue to deliberate,” O’Neill said Friday.
If there is a mistrial, Cosby would not be considered guilty or not guilty, and prosecutors may choose to retry the case with a different set of jurors. Still, that would represent a major win for Cosby’s team, which has argued the case never should have reached court.
The jury is made up of four white women, six white men, one black woman and one black man. They were bused to Norristown from Allegheny County near Pittsburgh and have been sequestered in a hotel for the trial.
He said, she said
The three charges accuse Cosby of assaulting Constand without her consent, assaulting her when she was unconscious and assaulting her using drugs to impair her ability to consent. If found guilty, he could face up to 10 years in prison for each charge.
Prosecutors called 12 witnesses, including Constand, over a week of testimony but presented almost no forensic evidence. Cosby declined to testify in his own defense, and his attorneys called only one witness. Cosby’s attorneys argued the sexual contact was consensual and worked to highlight inconsistencies in Constand’s testimony on cross-examination.