June 24, 2017

Cosby alternate juror 'probably' would have voted to convict

20 June 2017, 01:12 | Sue Hudson

Cosby retrial could favor defense though publicity a wild card

Bill Cosby favoured to walk after retrial, but new jury may be more eager to convict

Kevin R. Steele, the district attorney from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, has already said he will seek a new trial against Cosby.

Bill Cosby exits Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., after the judge declared a mistrial Saturday in his sexual assault trial because the jury failed to reach a verdict.

A man who says he was one of the alternate jurors in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial told a Pittsburgh radio station Monday that he would have voted to convict the comedian.

Immediately following the court's declaration of a mistrial, District Attorney Kevin Steele announced that he would retry the case. "It cost an bad lot of taxpayer money to bring that case to trial and there's no saying that this next trial could end up as a hung jury again or an acquittal".

Media organizations including The Associated Press are seeking the jurors' identities.

In late 2014, dozens of women went public with accusations that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them over the course of his lengthy comedic career and in July 2015, a judge unsealed Cosby's deposition in that 2006 civil lawsuit. It's unclear how many jurors voted for conviction and how many wanted an acquittal.

"After 52 hours of deliberation-probably one of the most courageous acts I've ever seen-I'm compelled to grant a mistrial", judge Steven O'Neill said.

Women bringing civil cases would also likely find it easier to introduce testimony from other accusers to support claims that Cosby engaged in a pattern of assault, said Douglas Wigdor, a plaintiffs' attorney who represents clients in sexual harassment cases.

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The 79-year-old Cosby is charged with drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand, a former director of operations of the Temple University women's basketball team. They say that releasing the names of the jurors could make it more hard to select an impartial jury in the next trial.

The juror names remain shielded from the public under a protective order that several news outlets have challenged. A New York Magazine recently featured Janice and other women who accuse Cosby of sexual assault. He says he was "ridiculously sick" when he found out the main jury couldn't reach a verdict in the case. On Saturday, they came back and told him they were hopelessly deadlocked.

An attorney acting for many of Bill Cosby's accusers has said: 'It's too early to celebrate, Mr. Cosby'.

As an alternate, he heard all the testimony but didn't participate in deliberations.

It's understandable they would think that; for most of America's history, women's allegations of sexual assault were not to be believed - even when men stated something as true that was clearly a lie. They told Judge Steven O'Neill on the fourth day that they could not reach a unanimous verdict.

In December 2015 - five months after 35 other women offered similar accounts of sexual assault at the hands of Bill Cosby in a NY cover story - Montgomery County prosecutors charged him with three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault. For Cosby to plead to a misdemeanor, a lesser charge, he would have to waive the two-year statute of limitations that would apply to the 2004 encounter.

Free on a $1 million bail, Cosby - who says he is legally blind - hung his head and made no comment before leaving the court in the Philadelphia suburb of Norristown, escorted by his representatives.

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