Cosby jury to resume deliberating Friday

 Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse during his sexual assault trial, Thursday, June 15, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse during his sexual assault trial, Thursday, June 15, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

[Updated 9:20 p.m.] The deadlocked jury in celebrity Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial has finished deliberating Thursday without a verdict for the fourth straight day. Earlier Thursday, jurors said they were deadlocked, but the judge sent them back to the jury room.

 [Updated 9:20 p.m.] The  jury in celebrity Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial, which had been ordered back to deliberations Thursday morning after declaring they were deadlocked, has finished for the day.

The seven men and women will resume weighing the evidence against Cosby on Friday morning.

Judge Steve O’Neill told the jury about 9 p.m. that he has “no intention of intruding upon your deliberations.”

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Without  more information from them, the judge said, he “assumes that in keeping with the last instruction that I gave the jury that you are deliberating with that instruction.”

After more than 11 hours of deliberation Thursday — bring the total since Monday to nearly 40 hours — the judge said he wanted jurors alert and able to resume in the morning.

“Deliberations should be for a fresh and well-rested mind and body,” he told them.

About 11 a.m., when the jury announced the deadlock, O’Neill read them instructions urging them to go back to the jury room and try to reach a unanimous verdict on all three counts against Cosby.

Cosby, 79, is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault against former Temple University women’s basketball official Andrea Constand in January 2004 at his Cheltenham Township mansion. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison on each count.

If the jury continues to be deadlocked, the judge could declare a mistrial. Then prosecutors would have to decide whether they want to put Cosby on trial again.

[Updated 7:10 p.m.]

Court official Kimberly Bathgate reported at 7:02 p.m. that jurors are eating dinner. “Not sure if they’re breaking or working through dinner,” Bathgate wrote. “They ordered a variety of dinners.”

 [Updated 6:48 p.m.]

With the clock ticking closer to 7 p.m., there is no word of whether the jury has reached a verdict. About 6:10 p.m., District Attorney Kevin Steele exited Judge Steven O’Neill’s chambers.

About 5:30 p.m., Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt told reporters that Cosby was taking naps in a conference room he jokingly referred to as his “dressing room.”

Between snoozes, Cosby told “stories with his relationships with Redd Foxx, Sammy Davis Jr., Richard Pryor, just talking about the wonderful relationships and times that they spent together,” Wyatt said.

The comic and actor “takes this matter serious, but he still has to keep his mind calm, and stay peaceful.”

Cosby’s wife Camille, who has only attended the trial one day has been calling her husband  “almost every 10 minutes to make sure Billy is doing OK, and so she’s always concerned about him,” Wyatt said.

Wyatt viewed the jury’s impasse, and earlier announcement of a deadlock, as good news.

“They’re retrying basically the case in the jury room, in the deliberation room, and that’s a wonderful thing,” Wyatt said. “That’s all we could ever hope for. It just shows that they’re gonna fight it.”

He called Cosby a fighter, noting that actor who uses a cane will turn 80 on July 12.

Cosby is anticipating the jury “vindicating him in some fashion, so he could get back on the road, and get back to work, get back to touring,” Wyatt said.

[Updated 3:15 p.m.]

While jurors have resumed deliberating the fate of alleged sexual assailant Bill Cosby, his chief accuser spent some time today doing one of things she does best — shooting hoops.

Andrea Constand, who testified for more than seven hours last week that her mentor Cosby drugged and molested her in January 2004, shot baskets in a courthouse hallway with a tiny basketball and a short basket.

The former college standout and professional player even tweeted a video of her activities, showing perfect form while draining a long shot. The 25-second video included the theme music of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball troupe. After her shot rattled through the basket, the words “ALWAYS FOLLOW THROUGH” were displayed on the screen.

No word on whether that phrase is a metaphor for how she has persevered in her quest to hold Cosby accountable for his alleged crimes against her.

Also this afternoon, activist/artist Bird Milliken of north Philadelphia led two drummers in a march past the crowd while waving a sign proclaiming, “Perseverance to All Survivors.” The drummers are part of a group from the Strawberry Mansion area called Positive Movement Entertainment.

[Updated 1:35 p.m.]

With the Cosby jurors back to deliberating after announcing they were deadlocked in his sexual assault trial, tensions are growing outside the courthouse, leading to confrontations and tense charges between supporters and those who want Cosby convicted, including alleged victim Lili Bernard. 

There have been skirmishes and attempts by advocates on each side trying to persuade those on the other.

Activist/artist Bird Milliken of North #Philly brought drummers in her third day of protest outside the #CosbyTrial.

— Dana DiFilippo (@DanaDiFilippo) June 15, 2017

Bernard played the character Mrs. Minifield, a pregnant patient of Cosby’s Dr. Cliff Huxtable, on “The Cosby Show” in the early 1990s. She has been a striking presence at the courthouse with her big Afro hairdo.

About 1 p.m., she addressed Cosby supporters, including one holding a “Free Mr. Cosby Now” placard. Bernard passionately recited Bible passages, repeating “God bless you.”

Bernard also told the pro-Cosby group that the actor “mentored me and lifted me up” before later abusing her. “Being on the Cosby show meant everything to me.”

Waiting for the verdict, tensions rise outside Montgomery Counting Courthouse. #Cosbytrial (License images @NurPhoto)

— Bastiaan Slabbers (@BasSlabbers) June 15, 2017

One woman, her voice screeching, retorted: “It hurts me to see a blind man going to go to prison for 30 years.” Cosby has spoken of having vision problems in recent years.

Protesters and accusers confront each other outside the #CosbyTrial. Crowds, tensions, growing outside courthouse, with jury deadlocked.

— Dana DiFilippo (@DanaDiFilippo) June 15, 2017

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


Jurors have deadlocked in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial on their fourth day of deliberations, but the judge has ordered them to keep weighing whether the entertainment icon drugged and molested former Temple University basketball official Andrea Constand.

The seven men and five women, who were were brought 300 miles from Allegheny County to Montgomery County for the trial of one of America’s most famous celebrities, announced they were unable to reach a decision after 30 hours.

If they ultimately can’t reach a decision and become what’s known as a hung jury, Judge Steven O’Neill would have to declare a mistrial. Then prosecutors would have to decide whether to retry the 79-year-old Cosby.

The jury’s announcement that it could not reach a unanimous agreement on any of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Cosby came about 11 a.m., leading O’Neill to read the jurors what is known as an “Allen” or “dynamite” charge.

“Each of you has a duty to consult with one another and to deliberate with a view to reaching an agreement, if it can be done without violence to your individual judgment,” he said, reading from Section 2.09 of Pennsylvania law for jury instructions.

He reminded jurors to “decide this case for yourself after an impartial consideration of the evidence” but urged them not to “hesitate to reexamine your own views and change your opinion if you are convinced your opinion is erroneous.”

As he sent the jurors back to deliberate, O’Neill said that “if after further deliberations you are still deadlocked on some or all of the charges, you should report that to me.”

The counts against Cosby are second-degree felonies under Pennsylvania law, and carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years for each offense.

Outside court, Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt declared once again that one of America’s most famous celebrities is innocent. “Facts of the case don’t add up,” Wyatt said.

Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, who represents several women who have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, countered that the deadlocked jury “is not a vindication of anybody. It’s not the end. It’s not the end [until] it’s over.”

Allred added: “Hope is the last thing to ever die. I’m not losing hope.”

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

‘Three friends to help make you relax’Jurors got the case Monday after a six-day trial. Since then the jury has had the court read back several portions of the trial testimony, including Constand’s description of the alleged attack, a police account of an interview with her, and a deposition Cosby gave for a lawsuit Constand filed in 2005. Earlier today, jurors asked their seventh question but soon came back to announce they were at loggerheads.

Authorities have charged the comic and acting legend with giving Constand wine and three white pills he called “three friends to help make you relax” after inviting her to his Cheltenham home in January 2004.

Constand, 44, is a former college basketball star who played professionally in Europe. She testified for seven hours over two days about how Temple alumnus and then-board member Cosby was a trusted mentor, said she felt “paralyzed” after taking the pills that he told her were a herbal remedy.

Cosby didn’t testify, but jurors heard his deposition. Cosby said during the deposition that the sexual encounter was consensual and that he gave her Benadryl, an over-the-counter cold and allergy medicine that can cause drowsiness and dizziness. Cosbyalso said during the deposition that he sometimes gave women Quaaludes, the powerful sedative, as a precursor to having sex.

Some 60 women have come forward in recent years to accuse the married entertainer of sexual misconduct over a 50-year period, with many saying he drugged them. He is currently fighting several lawsuits and has settled others, including the one brought by Constand.

Constand’s case was the only one that has led to criminal charges, which were filed in December 2015 as the 12-year statute of limitations was about to expire. Authorities had decided in 2005 not to file charges in Constand’s case but the investigation was reopened in 2015. 

Allegations in other cases did not lead to charges, in large part because the statute of limitations had expired in those jurisdictions.

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