·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Lawsuits & Litigation

Bill Cosby Case Declared a Mistrial

— June 20, 2017

After a week of deliberations, the jury in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial remained deadlocked on “whether to convict the comedian on any of the three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault.” As a result, Judge Steve T. O’Neill, the judge in the case, “declared a mistrial Saturday morning,” putting an end to the current round of proceedings. Though the trial was declared a mistrial, the three second-degree charges against the 79-year-old comedian remain, each carrying “a minimum 5-year sentence.

What was the trial over, though? Well, for those who don’t know, this most recent trial against Cosby was over the “alleged 2004 drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand, a former employee Temple University, at Cosby’s Philadelphia home. Constand’s allegation was one of dozens sometimes decades-old accusations leveled at Cosby over the past several years.” According to Constand, Cosby “drugged her to the point of near-paralysis and then assaulted her as she lay helpless on a couch.” Constand first reported the alleged assault in January 2005, but the case was dismissed by a Montgomery County district attorney soon after. As a result, Constand filed a civil suit against Cosby, which was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2006.

Image of Andrea Constand Leaving the Montgomery County Courthouse
Andrea Constand Leaving the Montgomery County Courthouse; Image by Ed Hille,

The issue was brought back to the spotlight when comedian Hannibal Buress told audience members during one of his shows to “Google accusations of rape against Cosby—prompting Cosby to deny the allegations again.” From there, “a U.S. district judge unsealed part of Cosby’s deposition in the civil case, writing, in his decision, that the deposition offered a stark contrast to Cosby’s identity as a public moralist,” because in the deposition, “Cosby admitted that he used to procure quaaludes specifically to give to women whom he wanted to have sex with.” It wasn’t long before more than 50 women stepped forward, accusing the comedian of sexual assault.

Despite the allegations against him, Cosby and his attorneys “maintained throughout the trial that the actor’s relationship with Constand was consensual.” On top of that, even though “Cosby admitted to giving numerous women drugs and having sexual relationships with them,” he has said that all of those encounters were consensual as well, and his lawyers “countered the allegations saying they were attempts at extortion.”

While Cosby’s team might be feeling a bit relieved over the mistrial, people on the other side of the aisle including the Montgomery County District Attorney, Kevin R. Steele, “announced he would retry the case.” One thing is for certain, it’ll be awhile before all of this is over.


With Jury Deadlocked, Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Case Declared a Mistrial

After 52 Hours of Deliberations, Bill Cosby Trial To Continue Through Saturday

Bill Cosby’s Trial Begins, With the World Barging In

Join the conversation!