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Jury Deadlocked in Bill Cosby Sex Assault Trial

  • VOA News

Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse during his sexual assault trial, June 15, 2017, in Norristown, Pa.

Jurors in the sexual assault trial of celebrity comedian Bill Cosby have told a judge they are deadlocked on charges he drugged and then molested a woman in 2004.

The jury had been deliberating Cosby’s sexual assault charges since Monday, and seemed exasperated at times as it repeatedly asked the judge for clarifications of evidence or to hear testimony from the trial again.

Bill Cosby, second from right, arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse for his sexual assault trial, June 7, 2017.
Bill Cosby, second from right, arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse for his sexual assault trial, June 7, 2017.

Judge Steven O'Neill told the jurors other judges may not have granted their six requests to revisit evidence from the trial, but since he granted their first request he felt obligated to fulfill the rest of the requests because he didn’t want them to think some pieces of evidence were more important than others.

“From now on when you ask for testimony, I am compelled to give it to you,” he said Wednesday night.

O'Neill told the jurors to continue discussing the charges in the jury room after the panel told him they could not agree on Cosby's guilt.

Andrea Constand walks to the courtroom during Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., June 6, 2017.
Andrea Constand walks to the courtroom during Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., June 6, 2017.

The 79-year-old Cosby is charged with drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand, a former director of operations of the Temple University women's basketball team.

He allegedly gave her pills that paralyzed her and left her unable to resist when he started touching her in his Philadelphia home.

Constand had gone to Cosby's house for dinner and to get advice about her career.

Cosby's lawyers used their closing arguments to say Constand lied on the witness stand about her relationship with the comic. They pointed out that she telephoned Cosby more than 50 times after the alleged attack, but told police she had no contact with him.

"It's not a fib. It's not a mistake, It's a stone cold lie," Brian McMonagle told the jury.

Constand said the calls were just business and that Cosby, as a Temple alumnus, could help the basketball team.

"This isn't talking to a trustee. This is talking to a lover," McMonagle said, accusing Constand of trying to use Cosby's name for financial gain.

The prosecution relied heavily on parts of the deposition Cosby gave to police in a 2005 civil suit brought by Constand.

In it, Cosby admitted getting a prescription to a sedative called Quaaludes back in the 1970s and giving the drug to women he wanted to sleep with.

District Attorney Kevin Steele told the jury these words prove Cosby knew exactly what he was doing when he allegedly gave pills to Constand, telling her they were herbal relaxants.

"Drugging somebody and putting them in a position where you can do what you want with them is not romantic. It's criminal," he said.

Steele said no amount of "fancy lawyering" will save Cosby from his own words.

"Ladies and gentlemen, he has told you what he has done," Steele said to the jurors. "It is about as straightforward as you are ever going to see in a sex crimes case."

If found guilty, Cosby could go to prison for the rest of his life.

More than 50 women claim Cosby sexually assaulted them in incidents dating back to the 1960s, when he emerged as a major comedy star. Most of the alleged incidents occurred too long ago to be prosecuted now.

Constand's complaint is the only one that has come to trial. Cosby has denied all the charges.

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