Cosby calls for mistrial as jury remains deadlocked

Jurors in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial have told a judge they're deadlocked on charges the comedian drugged and molested a woman in 2004.

Judge O'Neill has since ordered the jury members to continue deliberations, insisting it is their responsibility to reach a verdict.

His lawyer says Cosby and Andrea Constand were lovers sharing a consensual sexual encounter at his suburban Philadelphia home.

"We can not come to a unanimous consensus on any of these counts", the panel said in a note to the judge, according to NBC News. A hung jury is possible and if that happens, the case will be a mistrial.

Judge Steven O'Neill praised them for their efforts, which includes three consecutive 12-hour days of deliberation. Each of these charges carries a maximum of ten years in prison, along with a $25,000 fine.

Under Pennsylvania law, a judge has the power to decide what to do once a jury announces deadlock.

Constand was a standout basketball player at the University of Arizona who did a brief stint in the Italian Women's Basketball League. He said that Bill Cosby would like to "say thank you to these jurors".

Prosecutors called 12 witnesses over a week of testimony, including Constand, but presented nearly no forensic evidence.

After a week long trial in Norristown, PA that started on June 5, the once beloved and much accused 79-year old actor is facing more than 10-years behind bars for three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault against the then Temple University employee. In his decade-old depositions, Cosby said he gave Constand Benadryl, a common allergy drug whose side effects can include drowsiness.

And they had heard suggestions from Cosby's defense team that probably these women slept with Cosby consensually, and are pretending he assaulted them for fame and money.

O'Neill told jurors Thursday night, "I am proud of each and every one of you ... this is hard work you are doing". She said Cosby then gave her three pills, claiming they were herbal and would help her relax.

Over the last week, numerous commentators have compared Cosby's case to the O.J. Simpson trial in 1994, which also drew extreme media attention and required a sequestered jury.

Defense lawyers during the trial emphasised discrepancies in Constand's statements to police in 2005 in an effort to undermine her credibility.

"It's not over until it's over, and it's not over yet", she said.

A retrial would be costly, Allred said, and she worries that further dragging out Cosby's prosecution might push it out of the realm of public concern. Constand - an athletic, 6-foot-tall college basketball staffer - said they made her dazed and groggy, and unable to say no or fight back when Cosby went inside her trousers. But in most of those cases, the statute of limitations had expired by the time the women came forward.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

  • Salvatore Jensen