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BILL COSBY TRIAL: JUDGE ORDERS DEADLOCKED JURY KEEP TRYING

June 15, 2017 | Uhuruspirit

Bill Cosby



Crying was heard in the courtroom as the jury in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial announced it was deadlocked on all three counts, after some 30 hours of deliberating, and Judge Steven O'Neill implored them to try again.

The jurors sent a note to O’Neill stating they “cannot come to a unanimous consensus on any of the counts.” But O'Neill denied a motion for a mistrial.

“The jury foreman has informed me that you are deadlocked,” O'Neill said as the jury reconvened in the courtroom. “Each of you has a duty to consult with one another … if it can be done without violence. But each of you must decide by yourself.”

After hearing his statement, the jurors walked out, appearing sullen, as sounds of crying could be heard among spectators in the courtroom.

Lili Bernard, a Cosby accuser who has attended the trial, declined to comment on the deadlock, as she sat, with tears in her eyes, in the lobby outside of the courtroom.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents dozens of Cosby accusers and has been attending the trial, said the deadlock is not the end of the case. The court “instruction was for the jury to go back and deliberate,” she said, her voice cracking. “This deadlock could change.”

Cosby's spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, immediately seized on the development as a sign the prosecution failed to make its case to a unanimous jury. The facts of the case, “don’t add up,” he said, arguing that the charges were pursued by District Attorney Kevin Steele as a "catapult for his (political) ambitions.”

"Mr. Cosby should not be here today, should not ever have been here…but we can’t change that, he’s here right now,” Wyatt said.

The jury arrived Thursday for its fourth day of deliberations — believed to be a record here — while tension simmered among all those standing by for a sign: the defendant, his accuser, prosecutors and defense lawyers.

Not to mention the media mob wilting in the heat outside the courthouse.

A 13-year-old alleged sexual assault. More than two years of lurid headlines and multiple pre-trial hearings. Six days of courtroom dramatics. Now it's Day 9 and down to the seven men and five women on the jury, struggling to reach a verdict on three counts of aggravated indecent sexual assault stemming from an encounter between Cosby and accuser Andrea Constand at his home nearby in 2004.

Over the past 30 hours have passed since the sequestered jury got the case on Monday evening. In that time, they have assembled back in court a half-dozen times to ask questions or request extended read-backs of testimony, during which some listened intently while others appeared bored or dozing. One juror slouched in his seat, looking angry. There were delays because some trial testimony had not been transcribed yet.

Judge Steven O'Neill has been by turns exasperated and effusive, praising the jury's diligence. "This is an incredible jury that has just acted with incredible dignity and fidelity," O'Neill said Wednesday. "I don't have any higher praise. You have taken your task so seriously."

Meanwhile, experts on jury behavior are weighing in on what could be happening in the jury room, including on Twitter.

"It's common for jury to tell Judge they have consensus on 1 Count but not others making me think no consensus on any of 3 Counts," tweeted Chicago-based jury consultant Alan Tuerkheimer after the third day of deliberating with no verdict.

Meanwhile, stress seemed to be rising as everyone, including Constand, waited. At one point, Constand's mother, Gianna Constand, who testified for the prosecution, was seen wiping away tears on Wednesday as she listened to a read-back of excerpts from Cosby's 2005 police interview about the encounter with her daughter.

Cosby said in the interview that he gave Constand Benadryl to "relax," and that she was not incapacitated by it nor did she object to his behavior. Constand says that whatever Cosby gave her left her "frozen" on his couch and unable to fend off his groping her genitals.

Cosby, 79 and nearly blind, arrived at the courthouse shortly before 9 a.m., but there was no sign of his wife of 53 years, Camille, who joined him for the first time Monday, nor their four daughters.

Cosby has been by turns alert or seemingly indifferent at the defense table while jurors were listening to testimony excerpts read aloud. He nodded or shook his head as some excerpts were read.

He grinned at the mention of a T-shirt gift Constand had delivered, the one with an image of his Fat Albert cartoon character on it with Constand’s face superimposed over it.

Mostly, he's appeared stoic, his head down, a hand covering his face. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

- AP



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