Print Edition - 2017-06-18  |  Life & Style

Mistrial declared in Bill Cosby case

- Agence France-Presse, NORRISTOWN (United States)

Jun 18, 2017-

A US judge declared a mistrial Saturday in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault case after the jury remained deadlocked on whether the fallen star was guilty of drugging and molesting a woman in 2004, but prosecutors vowed to seek a retrial.

It was a stunning development—and a momentary victory—for the 79-year-old pioneering black entertainer who had risked spending the rest of his life in prison if convicted of assaulting Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia mansion.

Prosecutors announced immediately that they would retry the case, leading to the prospect of the now frail and disgraced comedian, once adored by millions as “America’s Dad,” could yet return to court.

For now, Cosby is free on bail.

Around 60 women have publicly accused the Emmy-winning actor in recent years of being a serial sexual predator, alleging that he drugged and assaulted them over a span of 40 years across the United States.

But Constand’s allegations were the only criminal case brought against him as most of the alleged abuse happened too long ago to prosecute.

Her case was initially settled by a civil suit but re-opened in 2015, when prosecutors claimed that new evidence had come to light.

The sequestered seven-man, five-woman panel spent 52 hours deliberating in the Philadelphia suburb of Norristown, Pennsylvania—far longer than the amount of time dedicated to testimony and legal arguments. They first informed Judge Steven O’Neill on Thursday that they were deadlocked, but were instructed to keep trying.

Less than 48 hours later, and working into the weekend on the 11th day of the trial, the panel informed the judge that they were still deadlocked on all three counts of indecent aggravated assault.

Legal experts had always warned that the “he said, she said” nature of the case was always going to be difficult to prove in court, not least because it happened so long ago and due to a lack of physical evidence.

But the trial has irrevocably damaged his legacy as a towering figure in US popular culture, once adored for his seminal role as a lovable father and obstetrician on hit TV series “The Cosby Show.”

The actor, who says he is now legally blind, hung his head or looked up to the sky as he stood outside the court house flanked by his defense lawyers and representatives, but made no public comment.

“We came here looking for an acquittal, but like that Rolling Stones song says, ‘You don’t always get what you want, sometimes you get what you need,’” defense lawyer Brian McMonagle told reporters.

Cosby’s wife, Camille, who attended just one day of the trial, issued a fierce statement on Saturday, read out by a representative.

She condemned the district attorney as “heinously and exploitatively ambitious,” the judge as “overtly arrogant,” lawyers for the accusers as “totally unethical” and “many” in the media as “blatantly vicious.”

Published: 18-06-2017 08:59

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