In the past two and a half years, the snowballing sexual assault allegations against comedian Bill Cosby have resulted in a marked decline in the public’s opinion of the man once described as “Americas Dad.” After some 50 years of suspicious sexual behavior and 60 accusers, Cosby faced his first rape-related legal challenge earlier this month. Over the weekend, a mistrial was declaredbecause the jury could not agree on a verdict.
WHYY reporters Laura Benshoff and Bobby Allyn have been following the story since Cosby’s history of assault began garnering more attention in the fall of 2014. They joined Marty Moss-Coane on Monday’s edition of Radio Times to talk about the legal proceedings, but also about what it was like to cover the trial, in which jurors were anonymous and cameras and smartphones were prohibited.
Benshoff described the 6-foot wide screen that obscured the jurors from reporters and said “reporters were all kind of craning to the right to try to lean and see as many jurors as we could…you’re just trying to pick up on body language and see whom is looking at whom when certain evidence is being presented.”
Allyn added “when you cover trials, you want to look at what’s working? What’s not? Are people crying? Are they gasping? Are they falling asleep? Are the attorneys being persuasive?”