After 52 hours of deliberating, the jury in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial informed the court it couldn’t reach a unanimous decision, causing Judge Steven O’Neill to declare a mistrial.
Cosby, 79, had been charged with three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault and would have faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Although Cosby has been accused of drugging and/or sexually assaulting dozens of women — accusations that began to surface in 2014 — the present case focused on an accusation made by Andrea Constand, a Temple University employee who claimed Cosby sexually assaulted her at his Philadelphia home. The incident is alleged to have occurred in 2004. Cosby has close ties to Temple University, the former actor’s alma mater.
“In my head, I was trying to get my hands to move or my legs to move, but I was frozen,” said Constand during the trial, according to reports by the Associated Press and Fox News. “I wasn’t able to fight in any way. I wanted it to stop.”
During the trial, Cosby’s defense attorney Brian McMonagle claimed Cosby, who was married at the time the incident allegedly occurred, and Constand did engage in sexual acts, but that the relationship was consensual.
Following O’Neill’s decision, prosecutors in the trial told reporters they plan to push for a retrial in the future, according to Fox News. O’Neill could choose to allow a retrial, or the case could end, allowing Cosby to escape prosecution.
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On Wednesday, O’Neill praised the “incredible” jury for its service.
“This is an incredible jury that has just acted with incredible dignity and fidelity,” O’Neill said. “I don’t have any higher praise. You have taken your task so seriously.”
A written statement by Camille Cosby, Bill Cosby’s wife, was read after the mistrial was announced, according to a report by CNN. In the statement, Camille Cosby sharply criticized O’Neill, the jury and the prosecutors in the case.
“How do I describe the District Attorney?” Camille Cosby said in the statement. “Heinously and exploitively [sic] 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.”