The judge presiding over the Bill Cosby sexual assault case has declared a mistrial.
Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Saturday, June 17, 2017.
The move amounts to a victory of sorts for the 79-year-old pioneering black actor, who had faced spending the rest of his life in prison if convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault against 44-year-old Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia mansion in January 2004.
His lawyer said the entertainer and Constand were lovers sharing a consensual sexual encounter. There is still a possibility for justice for Cosby's more than 60 victims, but the combination of celebrity, money, and a justice system that is rigged in many ways against victims of rape and sexual assault will be hard to overcome. In declaring a hung jury and a mistrial, prosecutors get four months to decide whether they want to retry the TV star or drop the charges. With the results, Cosby will remain a free man for now.
To my supporters and fans in Norristown, Thank you.
But Steele said it was no accident that some of Constand's memories were faulty.
Constand did not appear at the news conference.
Cosby said in a radio interview before the trial he hoped to resume his performing career after the Constand case was resolved.
Legally, prosecutors have one year to retry the case, but the judge said he would like to get the trial back on within 120 days.
The trial has irrevocably damaged his legacy as a towering figure in USA popular culture, once adored for his seminal role as a lovable father and obstetrician on hit TV series "The Cosby Show".
Cosby's defense lawyers, however, argued that Constand's account could not be trusted after they pointed to numerous discrepancies in her statements to police in 2005, when she first reported the alleged incident almost a year later. Cosby pleaded not guilty to all charges. "They'll take the edge off", Cosby told her, she testified.
During Schaffer's cross-examination, lead defense attorney Brian McMonagle zeroed in on discrepancies in Constand's accounts regarding the date of the incident, while also noting that she crossed out sentences in her sworn statement. Still, that would represent a major win for Cosby's team, which has argued the case never should have reached court.
In more than a dozen notes to the judge, the jurors asked to revisit huge chunks of trial testimony, including Constand's account from the witness stand, her statements to police from 2005 and Cosby's sworn depositions taken in 2005 and 2006, when Constand filed a civil lawsuit against him. "And that in itself is a hard defamation case".
But the jurors clearly struggled with their verdict, telling the judge on Day 4 they were at impasse.
Constand previously sued Cosby in civil court in 2005, a case that ended with her receiving an undisclosed cash settlement.
He also tried to sow doubt about Constand's story, saying it had evolved during her interviews with police.