Days of deliberations but still no verdict at Cosby sex assault trial

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 15, 2017 6:03 AM

By Joseph Ax

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Reuters) - Jurors at Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial will resume deliberations on Thursday, after nearly 30 hours of discussions stretching over 2-1/2 days have failed to yield a verdict.

Cosby, the 79-year-old entertainer once beloved for his brand of family-friendly comedy, is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, then 31, at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

The jury in Norristown, Pennsylvania, deliberated into Wednesday night, after reviewing testimony from a police officer who interviewed Cosby about the incident in 2005.

Constand is one of dozens of women who have accused the former star of the 1980s hit TV comedy "The Cosby Show" of assaulting them, often after plying them with pills and alcohol, in a series of incidents over four decades.

Constand's allegations are the only ones to result in criminal charges because the others are too old to allow for prosecution. Cosby has denied every claim, saying his encounters with Constand and others were consensual.

The jury has gone back and forth between various accounts of the incident from both Cosby and Constand, asking that trial testimony and key documents be reread to them.

On Wednesday, the jurors heard Constand's trial testimony again as well as Cosby's statements to police from 2005.

Earlier in the week, the jury revisited the testimony of a police officer who took her initial statement in 2005 and Cosby's description of the night from sworn depositions he gave in 2005 and 2006 during Constand's civil lawsuit.

Defense lawyers at trial emphasized various discrepancies in the statements Constand made to police in 2005 in an effort to undermine her credibility.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, used Constand's testimony as well as the words of a second accuser, Kelly Johnson, to portray Cosby as a serial predator. Johnson told jurors Cosby sexually assaulted her in strikingly similar fashion in 1996.

Cosby did not testify. In his decade-old depositions, Cosby said he gave Constand Benadryl - calling the pills her "friends" without telling her what they were - and admitted to giving other young women Quaaludes, a sedative, in the 1970s.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Trott)