Setting a record for jury deliberations in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the panel weighing the fate of actor Bill Cosby at his sex assault trial was unable to reach a verdict Wednesday after a total of 28 hours of pondering the case.
“There is no doubt in my mind this is an incredible jury that has acted with dignity. You have taken your task so seriously,” Judge Steven T. O’Neill said late Wednesday as he dismissed the jury of seven men and five women for the day. “Get some rest, get some sleep, whatever it takes to be ready to get back to work tomorrow.”
The jurors from Pittsburgh are sequestered at an area hotel for the duration of the trial. They will return to court at 9 a.m. Thursday to resume deliberations.
The jury deliberated four hours on Monday, 12 hours on Tuesday and another 12 hours on Wednesday. The trial began June 5.
William Henry Cosby Jr., as his name appears on charging documents, is accused of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, the former director of women’s basketball operations at Temple University, at his Cheltenham mansion in 2004. He is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault and faces 15 to 30 years in prison if convicted of the charges.
Throughout the day, jurors asked to hear again portions of the testimony given last week by Constand as well as Cheltenham Detective Richard Schaffer’s testimony about his interview of Cosby in 2005.
The most dramatic moment during the trial came when Constand entered the courtroom to tell her story and faced Cosby, whose legacy is on the line, for the first time since his arrest. The charges were lodged against Cosby on Dec. 30, 2015, before the 12-year statute of limitations to file charges expired.
The trial represented the first time Cosby, who played Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” from 1984 to 1992, had been charged with a crime despite allegations from dozens of women who claimed they were assaulted by the entertainer.
Testimony revealed Constand, who was 31 at the time of the incident, did not report the allegations to police until a year later, in January 2005. The investigation initially was undertaken by former District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr., who in February 2005 determined there was insufficient and unreliable evidence to prosecute Cosby, who was 67 at the time.
Prosecutors reopened the investigation in July 2015 after Cosby’s deposition connected to a 2005 civil suit Constand filed against him was unsealed by a judge. In that deposition, Cosby, according to testimony, admitted he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex in the 1970s. Prosecutors contend Cosby also admitted for the first time to developing a romantic interest in Constand when he saw her at a Temple basketball game and to having sexual contact with Constand.