After two days of deliberations in which they ruled on almost all the questions posed to them, jurors will have to start all over again in a civil trial that has decided on sexual abuse allegations against Bill Cosby on Monday.
By the end of court day Friday, the Los Angeles County jury had agreed whether Cosby sexually assaulted plaintiff Judy Huth at the Playboy Mansion when she was 16 in 1975, and whether Huth deserved any damages. They answered a total of eight of nine questions on their pronunciation form, all but one who asked if Cosby had acted in a way that required punitive damages.
Judge Craig Karlan, who promised one jury member when she agreed to serve that she could leave after Friday for a previous commitment, decided on the objections of Cosby’s attorneys to accept the verdict on the questions the jury answered. and to read. But he had to change course when deputies appeared at the Santa Monica courthouse and demanded he clean up the courtroom. The courthouse has a required closing time of 16:30 due to no budget for deputies’ overtime.
Karlan refused to let the departing juror, who was chosen as the front man, return on Monday, so jurors will have to start again with a replacement in her place.
“I will not go back on my word,” Karlan said.
It was a bizarre end to a strange day of jury deliberations. It began with a note to the judge about what he called a “personality issue” between two of the jurors that made their work difficult.
After calling them to the courtroom and having them agree that each juror would be heard in hearings, the jurors resumed, but had a steady wave of questions about issues with their ruling form that the judge and attorneys had to discuss and answer. One question was about how to calculate damages.
After the lunch break, Cosby lawyer Jennifer Bonjean appealed for a trial due to a photo taken by a member of Cosby’s team, which showed a jury member standing near a Cosby prosecutor who sat in the audience and watched the trial.
Karlan said the photo did not indicate that any conversation had taken place, and quickly dismissed the miscarriage motion and obtained the assurance of the jury member, and then the entire jury, that no one had discussed the matter with them. .
The prosecutor, Los Angeles artist Lily Bernard, who filed her own lawsuit against Cosby in New Jersey, denied that she spoke to any jurors.
“I never spoke to any jury member,” Bernard told the judge from her seat in the courtroom. “I will never do anything to endanger this case. I do not even look at them.”
Karlan fought to get past the gates and have jurors deliberate as long as possible, and kept lawyers, reporters and court staff in the courtroom ready to build once a verdict was read, but it was ultimately fruitless.
Jurors began deliberating Thursday morning after a two-week trial.
Cosby, 84, who was released from prison when his Pennsylvania criminal conviction was thrown out nearly a year ago, did not attend. He denied any sexual contact with Huth in an excerpt from a 2015 video clip shown to jurors. The denial was repeated throughout the trial by his spokesman and his lawyer.
In controversial closing arguments, Bonjean urged jurors to look beyond the public allegations against Cosby and consider only the evidence, which she said did not come close to proving Huth’s case.
Huth’s attorney, Nathan Goldberg, told jurors Cosby should be held accountable for the damage he did to his client.
The Associated Press does not usually list people who say they have been sexually abused unless they appear in public, as Huth and Bernard each have.
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