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Aug 31 2017

Bill Cosby Jury Goes a Fifth Day Without a Verdict – The New York Times

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Bill Cosby Jury Goes a Fifth Day Without a Verdict

• Read updates from Day 11 of the Bill Cosby trial .

• The fifth day of deliberations in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial ended Friday with the jury still at an impasse, but Judge Steven T. O’Neill expressed hope that the jurors were coming closer to consensus on whether the entertainer had drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand.

• It’s unclear what the deadlock is about, but the jury asked the judge Friday morning to explain the standard of proof in a criminal trial. What does proving something “beyond a reasonable doubt” mean?

• The jurors also asked to be read sections of Mr. Cosby’s deposition from a 2005 lawsuit filed by Ms. Constand in which he discussed how he had obtained quaaludes in an effort to have sex with women, and also the testimony from Ms. Constand’s mother, Gianna.

• Judge O’Neill said he would let the jury deliberate as long as they wanted to and he denied defense motions seeking a mistrial.

Bill Cosby arrives Friday at the Montgomery County Courthouse during his sexual assault trial. Credit Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Judge O’Neill spoke about reasonable doubt for the jurors.

He said the prosecution does not have to prove its case beyond all doubt to a point of absolute certainty.

A reasonable doubt, he said, is one that causes a juror to hesitate, but it must be real.

The standard jury instructions used by the Pennsylvania courts say, “To find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, you must be convinced of his guilt to the same degree you would be convinced about a matter of importance in your own life in which you would act with confidence and without restraint or hesitation.” The model jury instructions adopted by the federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which includes Pennsylvania, offers a lengthy definition that says, in part: “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt does not mean proof beyond all possible doubt or to a mathematical certainty. Possible doubts or doubts based on conjecture or speculation are not reasonable doubts.”

The judge then reread Mr. Cosby’s own words from previous deposition testimony in which he discussed obtaining several prescriptions for quaaludes, ostensibly for his back, but he used them instead as a party drug with women in order to have sex.

The jury had previously asked for other parts of the deposition testimony to be read, but this was the first time they had asked for his words about quaaludes. As the judge read the testimony, jury members paid close attention, looking at the screen where the words were projected.

Mr. Cosby sat in his chair at the front of the court, twisting his cane in his hands. Ms. Constand, her mother and her sister were also in court.

Andrea Constand departs the courtroom during the fifth day of jury deliberations in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse. Credit Pool photo by Lucas Jackson, via Getty Images

Judge O’Neill rejected another defense motion for a mistrial and punctured any notion that he was in any kind of rush.

“As long as the jury wants to deliberate,” he said, “I will let them.”

Later, the jury asked to hear the testimony of Ms. Constand’s mother again.

She had confronted Mr. Cosby in a phone call in which he apologized for his encounter with her daughter, offered to pay for therapy and schooling, but did not acknowledge any assault. The jurors also asked to review phone records that the defense had cited to show that Ms. Constand had continued contact with Mr. Cosby even after the evening in early 2004 when she says he drugged and assaulted her. Ms. Constand said many of the calls were associated with her need to keep in contact with Mr. Cosby because he was a trustee of Temple University, where she worked.

Bill Cosby’s lawyer Brian J. McMonagle arrives Friday for Mr. Cosby’s sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. Credit Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Mr. Cosby’s lead lawyer, Brian J. McMonagle, pushed again for a mistrial because of the length of the deliberations. But Judge O’Neill, who seemed exasperated with the defense, said he could not intervene unless and until the jury reported again that it could not reach a verdict. And he said he had not heard anything from the jury about its progress since Thursday morning. He accused the Cosby team of spreading the “misperception that there is a time limit.”

“Give me the law that your rhetoric fosters out there,” he said to Mr. McMonagle. “The judge’s obligation is to allow the jury to deliberate.”

The defense has said that the jury is basically replaying the entire trial with its repeat requests to hear evidence. The judge had agreed to all the jury’s requests to go back over things until Friday afternoon when he refused to let them review a section of Mrs. Constand’s testimony a second time. It concerned a phone conversation between Mrs. Constand and Mr. Cosby, where he gave his version of what had transpired on the night Andrea Constand says she was assaulted.

The media gathering outside of the Montgomery County Courthouse during jury deliberations on Thursday in Norristown, Pa.

Credit Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Everyone will be back Saturday as the jurors will continue their deliberations.

“We will decide what tomorrow brings when tomorrow comes,” Judge O’Neill said as he released the jurors Friday night to return to their hotel.

Mr. Cosby made his way out past chanting fans and told reporters, “To my supporters, please don’t argue, just keep up the great support.”

The judge, before he left, called the deliberations “unprecedented.”

It’s not clear whether he meant the length of the deliberations or the professionalism of the jurors, or both. Certainly there have been criminal cases outside of Norristown where deliberations extended past six days.

Nonetheless, the deliberations have been a long, exhausting process for all concerned. And they are not over.

Jon Hurdle contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on June 17, 2017, on Page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: Jury Goes A 5th Day In Cosby Sex Case. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe





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