US One night, two stories: In the Bill Cosby saga of sex, race, celebrity and alleged assault, even the jury couldn't agree on the truth

22:43  18 june  2017
22:43  18 june  2017 Source:

Bill Cosby trial puts a spotlight on how assault survivors cope

  Bill Cosby trial puts a spotlight on how assault survivors cope The Bill Cosby trial has brought renewed attention to the plight of sexual assault survivors, especially those who stay silent or maintain some sort of relationship with their alleged abuser. Andrea Constand, then a Temple University basketball manager, says she went to Cosby’s Philadelphia home in January 2004 to discuss her career plans. She says Cosby, a Temple trustee and someone she considered a mentor, drugged and molested her. Cosby denies the accusations and says the encounter was consensual.  On Tuesday, jurors continued deliberations on Day 7 of the trial.

The judge in the Bill Cosby case declared a mistrial after the jury said it was deadlocked. Jurors' inability to decide reflects a broader polarization on sex , race and celebrity dividing America.

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Actor and comedian Bill Cosby departs after a judge declared a mistrial in his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S., June 17, 2017.© REUTERS/Charles Mostoller/File Photo Actor and comedian Bill Cosby departs after a judge declared a mistrial in his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S., June 17, 2017. REPORTING FROM NORRISTOWN, Pa. - The dozen jurors in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial spanned a diverse demographic range: white men in their 20s and 30s, middle-aged African Americans, elderly white women.

But with that diversity also came deadlock. After five long days of deliberations, the jury found itself unable to render a verdict - like so much of this country, unable to find consensus on charged questions of race, age, power and gender.

Why Bill Cosby walked free

  Why Bill Cosby walked free A funny thing happens when men lie in plain sight. Especially famous ones. We bend over backwards to pretend it isn't true. That impulse reached toxic levels during the Bill Cosby trial. The comedian was charged with three counts of aggravated sexual assault against former star basketball player Andrea Constand. The jury was unable to reach a verdict after six days of deliberating, and despite asking to hear several snippets of testimony again, and for clarity on reasonable doubt and what "without her knowledge" meant.

One night , two stories : In the Bill Cosby saga of sex , race , celebrity and alleged assault , even the jury couldn ' t agree on the truth . Prosecutor vows to launch new sexual assault case against Bill Cosby following mistrial.

Cosby will now face a new trial as soon as October, the judge said in declaring a mistrial Saturday morning. The prosecutor said that he hopes to settle the matter by pressing ahead with the same three counts of aggravated indecent assault. The accuser, Andrea Constand, will take the stand again to testify that Cosby drugged and molested her.

But the jurors' inability to reach a verdict, after more than 100 hours of testimony and deliberations in this suburban Philadelphia courtroom, brought home how divided opinions are about Cosby - and about a lot more. (The jurors did not speak with reporters.)

To many, the former sitcom dad and stand-up icon is an avatar of privilege and misogyny that must be torn down in an enlightened 21st century. The facts of the case - Cosby invited Constand to his home, provided her pills he didn't identify and then penetrated her with his fingers - speak for themselves, they say. This was sex without consent. And they want a public reckoning.

Why Couldn’t the Cosby Jury Reach a Verdict? Legal Experts Assess

  Why Couldn’t the Cosby Jury Reach a Verdict? Legal Experts Assess Lawyers and law professors analyzing the mistrial pointed to inconsistencies in testimony and the difficulties of persuading one or more recalcitrant jurors.Video by the Associated Press

"The jury worked hard, and I have respect for everyone's opinion," Linda Kirkpatrick, a bakery owner from Costa Mesa who alleged Cosby assaulted her in 1981, told The Times outside the courtroom Saturday afternoon. "But my experience trumps your opinion."

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents many of the Cosby accusers, added that the entertainer's fame carried its own power. "We can never overestimate the blinding power of celebrity," she said after the mistrial was declared

To others, though, the facts do not necessarily add up to assault. And regardless, they believe, Cosby is a symbol: a victim of an overly litigious culture that unfairly targeted him in the name of political correctness.

"We know why we're here. Let's be real," said Cosby lawyer Brian McMonagle, giving voice to that school in his closing argument. "We're not here because of Andrea Constand." He pointed dramatically to a group of outspoken sexual assault activists in the back of the room, including Kirkpatrick. "We're here because of them."

Cosby lawyers fighting civil suits by 10 women

  Cosby lawyers fighting civil suits by 10 women Bill Cosby's sexual assault case in Pennsylvania has ended in a mistrial, but the comedian's civil lawyers still are fighting lawsuits against him by 10 women around the country. Currently, seven women have defamation suits pending in Massachusetts, while three more have defamation or sexual battery suits pending in California. Cosby has denied any wrongdoing.

.Certainly the facts were complicated in their own right.

Constand described how, on a night at Cosby's home in 2004, she began to lose her mental capacities after ingesting three pills that Cosby had offered her. He told her, she said, that they were herbal. "Little friends," he called them.

"He assisted me over to the couch and just said, 'Relax, just lay down here, you need to relax,'" she testified. "I was laying on my left side and he placed some kind of pillow [under me]. I have no real recollection except later I was jolted awake," she said, going on to describe how he used his hand to violate her. (Many women have accused Cosby of similar conduct, but only Constand's case has gone to trial.)

Over the last 13 days, jurors considered the entertainer's defense that the encounter was consensual, while Constand, taking the stand and facing Cosby, testified that he had robbed her of the ability to consent. Had he been found guilty, the 79-year-old would have faced a maximum of 10 years in prison on each count.

Constand maintained contact with Cosby after the attack - a point emphasized by the defense - but the district attorney, Kevin Steele, brought in expert witnesses who said such behavior is common among people who have been sexually assaulted by someone they know. The state also tried to fortify its case with testimony from Constand's mother and another Cosby accuser, former Hollywood agent assistant Kelly Johnson, who testified she was the victim of a similar assault by Cosby.

In Cosby Case, First Trial Is a Guide for the 2nd

  In Cosby Case, First Trial Is a Guide for the 2nd Both sides may feel exhausted after the mistrial that ended Bill Cosby’s sexual assault case, but a new round of prosecution is looming just months ahead.The fatigue from Saturday’s mistrial has hardly faded for either side in the Bill Cosby sexual assault case, but both need to begin preparing almost immediately for a new trial that the prosecution has vowed to bring.

Cosby's lawyers countered by pointing out inconsistencies in Constand's story, and noted she had taken the pills willingly. They also put forth the idea that the two had been sharing a romance.

The arguments raised plenty of questions in the jury room. After returning to ask for large portions of the testimony to be re-read, on Friday the jurors came back with a simple query for the judge:

"What is reasonable doubt? (The definition.)"

That one or more jurors were unwilling to believe in Cosby's guilt is a hard reality to accept for those who feel strongly about sexual assault; they say it's a similar reluctance that has allowed a culture of concealment to fester around these crimes.

In a country where sexual attacks still go underreported, they argue, Bill Cosby epitomizes exactly what needs to be done away with - the idea that privilege can shield predators. That is true in everyday spaces, such as the workplace and college campuses.

And it is especially true in realms such as Hollywood and the military, with their clear chain-of-command cultures.

A conviction Saturday, they say, would have made a resounding statement about all of that. "It doesn't matter what you look like or who you are," Steele said to reporters after the mistrial about the message of his prosecution. "Nobody's above the law."

Bill Cosby mistrial shows laws must change

  Bill Cosby mistrial shows laws must change Bill Cosby is a free man, for now anyway, because a jury never could agree on whether one of TV’s most comforting dads drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand at his mansion outside Philadelphia in 2004. Constand, 44, is the only one of dozens Cosby accusers whose report led to a criminal trial because in the other cases, the statute of limitations had expired. Bill Cosby is a free man, for now anyway, because a jury never could agree on whether one of TV’s most comforting dads drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand at his mansion outside Philadelphia in 2004.

Kirkpatrick noted that "only 2% of accused rapists go to jail and 98% walk free, and that number needs to be reversed."

Yet not everyone saw this case as cut-and-dried - either legally or culturally.

Outside the courthouse, throughout the trial, a small group of demonstrators had gathered, bearing signs with such messages as "Free Bill Cosby" and "100% innocent." While the auspices of this group remained murky - members wouldn't answer who had sent them or whether they were paid - they nonetheless spoke for a population that has alleged Cosby was more victim than perpetrator.

An aide to Cosby, Ebonee Benson, read his wife's statement articulating this belief outside the courtroom Saturday, while Cosby stood silent alongside here. Camille Cosby decried an "overtly arrogant" judge, a "totally unethical" D.A. and a "blatantly vicious" media. This whole trial was an attempt at a take-down, she suggested, by people who had already made up their minds about - or even had an ax to grind with - her famous husband.

Andrew Wyatt, Cosby's spokesman, suggested this mistrial was a triumph for black America as well.

"Johnnie Cochran is looking down smiling," Wyatt told reporters after the mistrial, referencing Cosby's late friend and star defense attorney for O.J. Simpson. It was one of several invocations of Cochran that Wyatt had made to reporters throughout the last two weeks, and it was not an accident. Cosby's team, at least, saw this case through a we-defeated-the-rigged-system lens as many African Americans viewed Simpson's 1995 verdict.

Cosby juror says Andrea Constand should have ‘dressed properly’

  Cosby juror says Andrea Constand should have ‘dressed properly’ The male juror who said Andrea Constand should have been "dressed properly" when she visited Bill Cosby's house got a dressing down by two of the comedian's other accusers Friday. Accusers Linda Kirkpatrick and Lili Bernard attended Cosby's sexual assault trial in suburban Philadelphia this month and said they were deeply distressed by the juror's comments to the Philadelphia Enquirer.

But notions of race were was also hard to avoid from the accusers' side. Cosby was able to perpetrate his crimes, they said, in part because of his skin color.

"I had the utmost respect and admiration for him based on what millions of other Americans, especially African American folks, thought of him," said Johnson, who is black, of why she initially began to trust the entertainer.

Cosby's age also played a role in winning over his alleged victims, they said. Constand underscored how he was in his 60s while she was not yet 30 when they began getting to know each other.

"He was a Temple friend, somebody I trusted, a mentor, an older figure to me," Constand testified, in describing how she came to trust him.

As the defense looked to sow doubt, it emphasized what it said was a romance, a May-December affair that Constand willingly signed onto, with the night in question a consensual part of that. But victims say that there isn't sufficient social awareness about how such a power differential can be used to an attacker's advantage, particularly when it comes to persuading them to abandon their judgment.

With its lack of resolution and finality, with its muddied message and do-over mentality, the Cosby mistrial has left us as confused about where the country stands on these issues. The embodiment of this might come in the form of Lili Bernard.

A guest actress on "The Cosby Show," Bernard had accused Cosby of violating her decades ago. She had been outspoken over the last two weeks about what this trial meant for her and the larger culture of sexual assault reporting, often giving long and eloquent disquisitions on the courthouse steps upon the conclusion of proceedings.

But on Saturday afternoon she staggered out of the court looking dazed and pained. Her vital expression had melted, and she wandered around the courthouse plaza in stunned silence.

Twitter: @ZeitchikLAT

Cosby juror: 'Not enough evidence' led to mistrial .
Another juror in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial came forward Monday — the first to go on camera — and said the mistrial in the 13-year-old case was due to a lack of convincing evidence for all 12 jurors to agree unanimously on a verdict. Bobby Dugan, 21, one of the youngest of the seven men and five women on the jury, spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and to ABC's Good Morning America, becoming the first of the deadlocked jury to appear on camera and with his name attached to his comments.

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