Entertainer Bill Cosby, whose sexual assault trial ended with a hung jury last month, will go to trial again this fall.
Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill set a new trial date for Nov. 6, the District Attorney Kevin Steele’s office announced Thursday.
— Carl Hessler Jr. (@MontcoCourtNews) July 6, 2017
O’Neill declared a mistrial June 17, when jurors “hopelessly deadlocked” after deliberating for 52 hours over six days at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown. Steele announced that day that he would retry the case.
About 60 women have accused the comedian of drugging and sexually molesting them over several decades. Just one accusation — that of Andrea Constand — resulted in criminal charges, mostly because statutes of limitations in other the other cases prevented authorities from charging him.
Constand was Temple University women’s basketball director in January 2004 when she says he “paralyzed” her with pills he told her were herbal, leaving her unable to consent or resist when he allegedly fondled her at his Cheltenham Township mansion.
In a 2005 deposition he gave in Constand’s civil lawsuit that the parties settled, Cosby had contended their sexual encounter was consensual and that three little blue pills he gave her that night were “three friends to help her relax.” He said the pills were Benadryl, an over-the-counter cold and allergy medicine that can cause drowsiness and dizziness.
Cosby had also spoken in the deposition about previously giving Quaaludes to women before sex. The powerful sedative was banned in the United States in the 1980s. Cosby said he never took the drug himself with women because, “I get sleepy.”
A conviction on the felony sex charges would have sent the 79-year-old Cosby to prison for the rest of his life.
Jurors were plucked from Allegheny County, after defense attorneys argued local jurors couldn’t be impartial, due to extensive news coverage of the case. O’Neill sequestered the jurors for the two-week duration of the trial and deliberations.
Although his defense team and spokesman cheered the mistrial as a victory, the case helped demolish Cosby’s nice-guy image, cultivated during his career, including an eight-year run as Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” the top-rated 1980s and ’90s sitcom.
Cosby, a Philadelphia native and Temple alumnus and booster who was then a university trustee, didn’t testify during his June trial.
Caroline Heldman, an Occidental College professor and political scientist who led efforts to repeal the rape statute of limitations in California, attended Cosby’s June trial alongside several of his accusers. Of his retrial this fall, she said, “I’ll be joining Cosby survivors and other sexual assault survivors from across the nation who are traveling to support Andrea Constand. It’s a shame that only one survivor out of the 62 women who have reported sexual violence from Bill Cosby can seek justice, but a victory for [Constand] is a victory for every survivor.”
Cosby’s attorney, Brian McMonagle, couldn’t be reached for comment about the new trial.