After all these years, the first criminal trial charging comedy legend Bill Cosby with drugging and molesting at least one woman against her will has ended quicker than anyone expected in a mistrial.
The trial began June 5, went to the jury after a six-minute defense, and ended Saturday after the jurors deadlocked, unable to reach unanimity six days later either for or against the 79-year-old comedian.
“After 52 hours of deliberation — probably one of the most courageous acts I’ve ever seen — I’m compelled to grant a mistrial,” said Judge Steven O’Neill.
Cosby remains charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault, and prosecutors vowed to re-examine their case against him and retry him later this year.
More than 60 women have accused Cosby of drugging them before violating them sexually when they couldn’t defend themselves. Only one of those women — a Temple University employee who’d previously earned a civil settlement against the comedian in 2004 — could bring him to criminal trial now under the statute of limitations. Cosby’s deposition in her civil case, released in 2015 upon a freedom of information request by the Associated Press, opened the door for all of this, as it revealed Cosby’s own admission that he had obtained lots of quaaludes in the 1970s (a banned drug now) for the purpose of giving them to women he wanted to have sex with, despite being married for decades. He also had testified 13 years ago to giving the plaintiff three half-tablets of Benadryl before having sex with her.
Only one of the other 60-plus accusers was allowed to testify against Cosby as to his pattern of “prior bad acts.”
Cosby himself didn’t take the stand. Instead, his defense attorneys alleged that all of his infidelities were consensual, and that his legendary status should remain otherwise untainted.
Lawyer Gloria Allred, representing several of the women who alleged Cosby raped or molested them, said outside the courthouse on Saturday: “We can never underestimate the blinding power of celebrity…If the court allows more accusers to testify next time it might make a difference. In other words, it’s too early to celebrate, Mr. Cosby. Round 2 may be just around the corner and this time justice may prevail.”
Spokespeople for both Bill and Camille Cosby gave fiery statements of their own outside the courthouse, too.
From Camille Cosby:
“How do I describe the District Attorney? Heinously and exploitively ambitious. How do I describe the judge? Overtly and arrogantly collaborating with the District Attorney. How do I describe the counsels for the accusers? Totally unethical. How do I describe many, but not all, general media? Blatantly vicious entities that continually disseminated intentional omissions of truths for the primary purpose of greedily selling sensationalism at the expense of a human life.
Historically, people have challenged injustices. I am grateful to any of the jurors who tenaciously fought to review the evidence; which is the rightful way to make a sound decision….ultimately, that is a manifestation of justice, based on facts, not lies. As a very special friend once stated, “truth can be subdued, but not destroyed.”
Moreover, I express humongous gratitude to counselors Brian McMonagle and Angela Agrusa for their hard work. Mr. McMonagle for his passionate and powerful articulations of truths; Ms. Agrusa for her thorough research to bolster Counsel McMonagle; to Mr. Andrew Wyatt for his unequivocal skills in public relations; to our team, who worked diligently and intelligently; to our staffs for their continuous commitment to our family and me….and to our children, grandchildren, and other family who loves us…and to our dear friends and supporters, who never gave up on us, despite it all.”
For Bill Cosby, his professional future remains doubtful. At 79, he has declared himself legally blind, and both NBC and Netflix scrapped plans for a stand-up special and a sitcom starring him in the wake of these old and new allegations against him.