The jury in Bill Cosby’s sensational trial for aggravated indecent assault have failed to reach a verdict in an outcome that has thrown the court into disarray.
The 79-year-old disgraced actor was in court to hear the stunning news, bringing to an end a trial that lasted just six days and a defense that lasted just six minutes.
The Daily Mail reports,
But after roughly 52 hours of deliberations the jury returned unable to reconcile the two very different scenarios placed before them by the prosecution and Cosby’s defense.
Judge O’Neilll asked each juror individually, ‘Do you agree that there is a hopeless deadlock that cannot be resolved by further deliberations?’
Each responded ‘Yes.’
Moments after the jury had confirmed that it was ‘hopelessly deadlocked’ after 52 hours of deliberation – one of the most ‘selfless courageous acts’ Judge O’Neill said he had ever seen – Brian McMonagle asked for a mistrial.
O’Neill granted it for Manifest Necessity.
Prosecutors had urged jurors to convict Cosby with his own words as, despite his decision not to testify, they produced damning evidence in the form of prior sworn testimony given by Cosby in police interviews and in depositions given in 2005 and 2006.
They pointed to the fact that the central elements of Constand’s claim to have been drugged and raped by the man she considered a friend and mentor had never changed.
But throughout the case the defense had cast doubt on Constand’s credibility, pointing out a series of inconsistencies in the accounts she had given investigators over several interviews in 2005 and the version she had told the court.
In an often-impassioned performance lead attorney Brian McMonagle presented Constand’s relationship with Cosby as intimate and consensual.
‘Why are we running away from the truth of this relationship?’ he yelled in closing statements. His contention was that Constand had leveled her allegations maliciously after Cosby tired of her and the relationship became ‘work.’
He showed telephone records that proved that Constand had tried to call Cosby 53 times after the alleged incident despite the fact that she claimed to have had no further contact.
If he had been found guilty, Cosby would have faced 10 years for each of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault: Lack of consent, consciousness and administering an Intoxicant.
The verdict brings to a close a trial described by Judge Steven O’Neill as simply ‘the biggest sexual assault trial in history.’
It has seen Cosby’s reputation destroyed beyond restoration as he faced only two outcomes. At best he would be recast from affable, trustworthy, Dr Huxtable of Cosby Show fame and a man of cultural and social significance, to a pathologically unfaithful husband to his wife of five decades, Camille. And a man who stockpiled Quaaludes to give to young women with whom he was interested in having sex.
At worst he would be painted a calculated sexual predator who had deliberately drugged and sexually assaulted a woman whose trust he had deliberately gained with the sole intention of violating her.
Andrea Constand’s allegations that Cosby had assaulted her in 2004 were first made and investigated in January 2005. But the case crumbled and was closed without charges made in February 2005.
Constand brought a civil suit but the actor no doubt thought he had heard the last of it all when the case was settled for an undisclosed case sum the following year on condition of that neither party spoke of it.
But in July 2015 everything changed. Constand and her then lawyer, Dolores Troiani, filed a motion to negate that condition claiming that Cosby himself had violated it in a series of interviews in which he widely denied allegations of drugging and sexually assaulted women.
His comments came in an attempt to stamp out the media firestorm that had started to blaze in the wake of comments made by comedian Hannibal Buress in a stand up show in 2014.
Buress called out Cosby as a hypocrite for the criticisms he leveled at comedians of his generation about their clothing and their cursing on stage.
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