Cosby jury ends 5th night of deliberations with no verdict, will resume Saturday

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 Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse during his sexual assault trial, Friday, June 16, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse during his sexual assault trial, Friday, June 16, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Updated 9:45 p.m.

The Bill Cosby sex assault jury has finished deliberating without a verdict for a fifth straight night, and will return to the Montgomery County Courthouse on Saturday morning to continue its work.

“We’ll decide what tomorrow brings when tomorrow comes,” Judge Steven O’Neill said while sending the sequestered jurors back to their hotel about 9:20 p.m.

Leaving court, Cosby made his first extended comments to the crowd outside since the trial began June 5.

“i just want to wish all the fathers a happy Father’s Day [on Sunday] and thank the jury for their long days and their honest work individually,” the 79-year-old Cosby said, his voice strong and positive.

“I also want to thank the supporters who have been here, and please, to the supporters, stay calm. Do not argue with people. Just keep up the great support.”

Jurors have now been weighing the evidence for more than 52 hours over five days and nights, and Friday they once again disappointed supporters and foes of the entertainment icon who gathered on the courthouse steps awaiting a decision.

After 8 p.m. Friday, the jury asked yet another of several questions Friday, requesting to hear the testimony of Steward Parsons, Andrea Constand’s brother-in-law. A police officer in Ontario, Canada, Parsons told Constand to report her allegations to law enforcement and suggest “strongly” that any future phone conversations with Cosby be recorded.

“Don’t worry about if you think it’s good or if it’s bad,” Parsons said he told Constand. “Just tell the truth.”

During that court session, Cosby attorney Brian McMonagle asked yet again for a mistrial, his seventh overall and sixth since closing arguments ended. The judge again rejected his attempt.

McMonagle argued that the jurors have been “deliberating for 12-hour days, I’m afraid they are being compelled to come back with a verdict.”

Retorted the judge: “Why is anybody making a motion for mistrial when a jury says they’re deliberating?”

McMonagle noted that jurors have already told the judge once that they were deadlocked — Thursday morning — only to be sent back to try to reach a unanimous decision on the three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

“I don’t think they know they can say it again,” the defense lawyer said

O’Neill countered:  “I have no authority” to declare mistrial if they are still deliberating.

As jurors again worked until well past dark on the late-spring evening, one Cosby fan hawked T-shirts expressing love for the defendant and his usually strident spokesman struck a less ebullient tone.

“Right now we just have to be patient,’’ spokesman Andrew Wyatt told the crowd outside the Montgomery County Courthouse. “They have [re]seen the entire case now.”

Wyatt was referring to the fact that jurors have had much of the testimony, including sections of Cosby’s deposition in accuser Andrea Constand’s civil lawsuit, read back to them since Monday.

Jurors pepped the judge with questions Friday. About 4 p.m. he seemed to lose patience with them, denying their request to re-hear for the second time Friday a part of Constand’s mother’s testimony about a phone call with Cosby. During that call Cosby talked about his sex encounter with her daughter 35 years his junior, and Gianna Constand called the comic and actor a “sick man.”

The seven men and five women were served Chinese food for dinner.

While they dined and deliberated further, Diana Alignan of Paoli stood outside with a message of support for Constand and other accusers, including witness Kelly Johnson. She named dozens of others in a poster she held.

The poster also said: “Strength. Grace. Courage.”

Updated 4:10 p.m.

Jurors in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial have peppered the judge with questions today, and after lunch were read back portions of the testimony by his chief accuser and her mother.

The seven men and five women are now in about their 45th hour of deliberations over five days. Their most recent question revolved around accuser Andrea Constand’s 73 telephone calls with Cosby in the weeks after his alleged attack in January 2004 and her phone records.

Jurors were read lengthy excerpts from  her cross-examination about those exchanges. Constand testified that she still considered him a mentor after he drugged and molested her and was only returning his calls because they related to her job as a women’s basketball official at Temple University, where alumnus Cosby was on the board of trustees.

“You knew Mr. Cosby was married, right?” said defense attorney Angela Agrusa.

“Yes,” Constand replied.

Members of the jury nodded along during portions of this testimony.

Jurors also honed in on parts of Gianna Constand’s impassioned testimony, where she talked about confronting Cosby by phone about his sexual encounter with her daughter.

“He said he was a sick man,” Gianna Constand relayed.

Shortly before 4 p.m, less than a half hour after hearing Gianna’s words, the jurors came back yet again, with their 12th question since deliberations began Monday.

They wanted to be read a small portion of Gianna Constand’s testimony that they had just heard.

This time Judge Steven O’Neill, who has praised the jurors for their diligence, said would not indulge them.

“You’ll have to rely on your collective recollection,” the judge said, then sent them back to the jury room.

Updated 1:10 p.m.

Jurors asked two more questions before breaking for lunch about 12:45 p.m. on their fifth day of deliberations in celebrity Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial.

They asked to rehear testimony regarding the phone records of accuser Andrea Constand, who called Cosby 53 times after the alleged assault. They also wanted to review testimony about Cosby’s first call with Constand’s mother, Gianna, about the sexual encounter in January 2004 that he has insisted was consensual.

Also during the session, defense attorney Brian McMonagle against asked for a mistrial  — his sixth bid overall and fifth during deliberations. The latest attempt sparked a testy exchange between the lawyer and Judge Steven O’Neill. Cosby shook his head and closed his eyes as his lawyer sparred with the judge.

McMonagle complained that jurors basically want to repeat the trial that lasted six days. The jury has now deliberated for some 44 hours, about as long as the duration of the trial.

“They were here!” McMonagle thundered.

O’Neill retorted that the jury was not bound by time constraints, and that they could deliberate as long as they wished. Clearly frustrated with McMonagle, O’Neill urged him to spend the lunch break researching case law for use in his frequent mistrial motions.

“There’s a misperception,” the judge said, “that there is some rule of law that there is a time limit” to jury deliberations.

Updated 12:35 p.m.

At 12:15 p.m., celebrity bill Cosby was led back into the courtroom, and reporters were called back to court.

Anticipation grew that a verdict had been reached, as sheriff’s deputies converged by the courtroom door.

Instead, jurors posed yet another question — their third of the day and 11th since deliberations began Monday. They are now in their 44th hour of weighing whether Cosby’ is guilty or innocent.

At noon, while the jury was in its 43rd hour of deliberations over whether he sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, the comic and acting legend tweeted: “Thank you to all my fans and supporters — here in Norristown and worldwide.”

The tweet included a photo of fans holding up signs in his favor outside court, including one that said, “We love you Bill Cosby” that was dotted with pictures of hearts.

 

Updated 11 a.m.

Responding to the jurors’ request to define the criminal conviction standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” Judge Steven O’Neill reminded them it does not mean the state has to “prove its case beyond all doubt or to a mathematical certainty.”

In a criminal trial, the burden is on the prosecution to prove the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” According to Black’s Law Dictionary,  that standard “does not mean that there is absolutely no doubt about his or her innocence. Rather, the phrase means that the established facts of the case lead the court to only one logical conclusion: that the defendant is guilty of the charges against him or her. Unreasonable doubt can still exist, but by its very nature such doubt does not lead a reasonable person to conclude that the accused did not commit the crime in question.”

Also this morning, the jury specifically asked to rehear Cosby’s deposition testimony about giving Quaaludes, a powerful sedative since banned in the United States, to women with whom he wanted to have sex.

During the deposition given in response to accuser Andrea Constand’s 2005 lawsuit claiming he drugged and molested her, Cosby said a doctor prescribed Quaaludes to him for a sore back but he didn’t take them because they “made me sleepy.” Instead, Cosby said, he gave them to women “to party.”

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The jury in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial has begun its fifth day of deliberations this morning with two questions, following a day in which they declared they were deadlocked and the judge them to continue trying to reach a unanimous verdict on the three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

The jury of seven men and five women went straight to work this morning without first going to the courtroom. By 9:15 they already had two questions for the judge — bringing the number of inquiries to nine since they began deliberating Monday afternoon.

In what could be a signal that jurors are nearing the end of their marathon deliberations, they asked for clarification of what “reasonable doubt” means.

Responded Judge Steven O’Neill: “The question does indicate that you are deliberating.”

In a criminal trial, the burden is on the prosecution to prove the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” According to Black’s Law Dictionary,  that standard “does not mean that there is absolutely no doubt about his or her innocence. Rather, the phrase means that the established facts of the case lead the court to only one logical conclusion: that the defendant is guilty of the charges against him or her. Unreasonable doubt can still exist, but by its very nature such doubt does not lead a reasonable person to conclude that the accused did not commit the crime in question.”

They also asked the court to read back more of Cosby’s civil lawsuit deposition testimony — the third time they have sought to rehear his statements about his alleged assault against Andrea Constand nearly 13 1/2 years ago.

Also this morning, the judge asked Cosby if he agreed with the defense’s repeated requests for a mistrial — four since deliberations began.

“Yes,” Cosby replied.

O’Neill also reminded the defendant that he could be brought to trial again in the event of a mistrial.

Cosby arrived shortly after 9 a.m. at the Montgomery County Courthouse to one of the the largest group of spectators on hand since the trial started June 5. Tensions, which had escalated among the crowd Thursday, resumed today with a racial edge.

Two white women shouted “Shame on you!’ to the black comic and acting legend as he passed, while across the street a handful of black men shouted at them to shut up.

Jurors spent six days hearing testimony about former Temple University women’s basketball official Constand’s allegations that Cosby had drugged and molested her at his Cheltenham Township mansion in January 2004. Constand, 44, testified for seven hours over two days. The 79-year-old Cosby didn’t take the stand, but jurors heard his deposition given after she sued him in 2005. Cosby admitted them he gave her wine and three blue pills he called “three friends that would help her relax” and said he thought they were Benadryl, the over-the-counter cold and allergy medication that can cause drowsiness and dizziness. He said their sexual encounter was consensual.

Jurors have usually stayed at the courthouse until 9 p.m. before ending their deliberations. By the time Judge Steven O’Neill dismissed them Thursday night, jurors had been weighing evidence for about 40 hours — about the same amount of time as the trial lasted.

Jurors, who are from Allegheny County, 300 miles from Norristown, are being sequestered in a local hotel. Despite enduring another nearly 12-hour session Thursday, members seemed upbeat as they exited the courthouse, their mood in contrast with their stressed and angry appearance the previous couple of days.

Listen to the latest episode of WHYY’s podcast, ‘Cosby Unraveled.’

Jurors had told O’Neill about 11 a.m. Thursday that they couldn’t reach a unanimous decision on any of the counts against the 79-year-old comedian. The judge told them to try again for a verdict. If convicted, Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison on each count.

If the jury can’t do that, O’Neill would be forced to declare a hung jury and a mistrial. In that case, prosecutors would get four months to decide whether they want to retry the television star or drop the charges.

As the jurors left Thursday night, O’Neill heaped praise on them, thanking them for their dedication and the sacrifice they’ve made being so far from home in the Pittsburgh area.

“I want to reiterate how proud I am of each and every one of you,” O’Neill said. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything that you’ve done.”

Cosby’s spokesman said the impasse showed that jurors doubted Constand’s story.

“They’re conflicted about the inconsistencies in Ms. Constand’s testimony,” spokesman Andrew Wyatt said. “And they’re hearing Mr. C.’s testimony, and he’s extremely truthful. And that’s created this doubt.”

Constand’s lawyer, Dolores Troiani, said only that the “jury is apparently working very hard.” The district attorney’s office declined to comment.

About 60 women have accused the married entertainer of drugging and and sexually assaulting them over a half-century, but Constand’s case, filed as Pennsylvania’s 12-year statute of limitations was about to expire, is the only one to result in criminal charges. Constand, who reached a settlement in her civil lawsuit against Cosby, is among several women who have sued him.

The Cosby sex assault jury has ended deliberations without a verdict for a fifth straight night Friday, once again disappointing supporters and foes of the entertainment icon.

As jurors once weighed the evidence until well past dark on a cool late-spring evening, one Cosby fan hawked T-shirts expressing love for the defendant, and his usually strident spokesman struck a less ebullient tone.

“Right now we just have to be patient,’’ spokesman Andrew Wyatt told the crowd outside the Montgomery County Courthouse. “They have seen the entire case now.”

Wyatt was referring to the fact that jurors have now deliberated for more than 50 hours, and have had much of the testimony, including sections of Cosby’s deposition in accuser Andrea Constand’s civil lawsuit, read back to them since Monday.

Wyatt also also thanked jurors for their hard worked and wished everyone a happy Father’s Day, which comes Sunday.

There has been no word from the jury since about 4 p.m. when the judge denied their request to re-hear for the second time Friday a part of Constand’s mother’s testimony about a phone call with Cosby. During that call he talked about his sex encounter with her daughter 35 years his junior, and Gianna Constand called the entertainer a “sick man.”

The seven men and five women were served Chinese food for dinner.

While they dined and deliberated further, Diana Alignan of Paoli stood outside with a message of support for Constand and other accusers, including witness Kelly Johnson. She named dozens of others in a poster she held.

The poster also said: “Strength. Grace. Courage.”

WHYY reporters Bobby Allyn, Laura Benshoff, and Dana DiFilippo, and the Associated Press contributed to this story.

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