Thursday, 29 June, 2017

Hollywood Reacts To Bill Cosby Mistrial

Bill Cosby AFP GETTY IMAGES NO VERDICT Bill Cosby has avoided up to 10 years in prison after a mistrial
Damon Campbell | 18 June, 2017, 01:52

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Bill Cosby's trial on sexual assault charges ended in a mistrial Saturday after jurors failed to reach a unanimous decision in a case that nevertheless helped destroy the 79-year-old comedian's image as "America's Dad".

Cosby had been accused of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia mansion in 2004.

Since Thursday morning, when the jurors told Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven O'Neill they were having trouble reaching agreement, they have spent almost 24 hours either discussing the case in a conference room or re-hearing trial testimony in the courtroom.

Although Cosby remains out of jail on $1 million bond after the ruling, the comedian's publicist Andrew Wyatt said his client felt the result was a "total victory".

Constand was not alone in accusing the star of sexual assault, as many as 60 women have come forward since 2014.

The judge said he saw no evidence of coercion or trouble in the deliberating room after the jurors reported their impasse on Thursday and he instructed them to keep trying for a verdict. How do I describe the counsels for the accusers? "We're here because of them", he said, shouting and pointing at the back of the courtroom, where other accusers were sitting.

"This is a case about drug-fuelled sexual assault", he continued.

Allred represents Kelly Johnson, who accused Cosby of engaging in sexual misconduct with her in 1996, and who was the first witness called by prosecutors at Cosby's trial as a so-called "prior bad acts" witness.

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Cindra Ladd, one of the 13 who could not take the stand, issued a statement thanking Constand for "her leadership and courage".

She also heaped scorn on media coverage of the accusations against her husband.

She went on to say that Cosby led her to a couch where she was incapacitated as the star groped her breasts and began to sexually assault her. Constand in a statement to the jury made of seven men and five women said, "I was frozen".

In addition to proving that Cosby assaulted them, Smolla said, they would have to establish that he said something about them beyond denying the allegations, such as calling them known liars or promiscuous. But it's a double bind to say both that years ago we would never have taken that case, and now that we might, it happened too long ago for us to even consider it.

The testimony is relevant because Cosby is charged with giving pills to Constand, former director of operations for the Temple women's basketball team, to incapacitate her before their sexual encounter.

But the trial has irrevocably damaged his legacy as a towering figure in U.S. popular culture, once adored for his seminal role as a lovable father and obstetrician on hit TV series "The Cosby Show". "Under Pennsylvania law, the court could have allowed more accusers to testify but declined to do so". He had addressed reporters on Friday night to thank the jury for their work and his fans for supporting him.

Outside the courthouse, as Cosby stood silently behind them, members of his team criticized the case against him. "Heinously and exploitatively ambitious", Camille Cosby said in the statement.

McMonagle, in his closing argument, pointed out that Constand telephoned Cosby dozens of times after the alleged assault.

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