A Pennsylvania judge declared a mistrial yesterday after a jury was "hopelessly deadlocked" on sexual-assault charges against Bill Cosby, the comic legend whose legacy as a promoter of wholesome values has been tarnished by a years-long sex and drugging scandal.
"I have been nothing but extraordinarily impressed by you all", O'Neill told the jury, adding that declaring a mistrial meant neither a victory nor a loss. The 79-year-old comedian says the encounter was consensual.
Dozens of women have come forward to say he had drugged and assaulted them.
Gloria Allred, the lawyer representing 33 women who have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, said outside of the court that "round two may be just around the corner, and this time, justice may prevail".
Outside the courthouse, as Cosby stood silently behind them, members of his team criticized the case against him."This is what happens - juries are stuck when a prosecutor seeks to put someone in prison for things that are simply not presented in the courtroom", said Angela Agrusa, one of Cosby's lawyers.
The sequestered seven-man, five-woman panel spent 52 hours deliberating, working late into the night and on Saturday, longer than the six business days devoted to testimony and legal arguments. On Thursday, jurors announced they were deadlocked.
Judge Steven O'Neill refused, saying there's no precedent to halt the jury's work.
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Cosby is free on bail but the charges are still in place. He said prosecutors felt good about the case, but "there's always tweaks". "It has been restored", his spokesman Andrew Wyatt said.
By Thursday morning, after almost 30 hours of discussions spanning three days, the jurors told Judge O'Neill they were at a stalemate.
Bill Cosby leaves the Montgomery County Courthouse during his sexual assault trial, Friday, June 16, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. Leave all the women out of here. She called the judge overtly arrogant and collaborating with the district attorney. "He's a politician, he has to say that, but now we have seen the strategy, and that's OK". He did not speak to reporters, but a family associate read a scorching statement written by Cosby's wife, Camille.
She said: "Historically people have challenged injustices".
Cosby, who gave the deposition as part of Constand's lawsuit against him, said he got seven prescriptions for the powerful sedative in the 1970s for the objective of giving them to women with whom he wanted to have sex. And to our dear friends and supporters who never gave up on us despite it all.
"I think the jury will be better served if they can hear from the other accusers and then they can make that decision as to whether or not they would convict and whether an alleged victim was in the position to consent or was incapacitated by drugs".
Accuser Victoria Valentino, who attending the trial for two weeks, told NBC News that she would not give up her fight for the truth.
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