Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Mistrial: Two Jurors Prevented Guilty Verdict
Revelations from inside the deliberation room are shedding new light on what exactly happened to deadlock 12 jurors in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial earlier this month.
An anonymous juror told ABC News that after 52 hours of intense discussion and dissent, there were 10 jurors who believed Cosby was guilty on two of the three counts filed against him. A third count had a majority vote of 11 to one to acquit the veteran actor. According to the juror, the jury first deadlocked after 30 hours of deliberation and spent a subsequent 22 more hours trying to reach an unanimous vote on any of the three counts. It didn’t happen.
“There was no budging,” after the first deadlock, the juror said, “and there was none from there on out.”
Cosby was charged in 2015 on three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault by Andrea Constand, a former director of operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team. According to Constand’s testimony, Cosby had invited her over to his Philadelphia-area home in 2004, and at one point in the evening, he allegedly gave her three blue pills and penetrated her with his fingers against her will while she was paralyzed and half-conscious. Cosby has denied her claims.
As a result of her accusations, Cosby was charged with digitally penetrating Constand without her consent (10 jurors found Cosby guilty here); sexually assaulting Constand while she was unconscious or unaware during the incident (only one juror voted to find Cosby guilty); and giving Constand drugs or intoxicants without her knowledge, essentially impairing her for the purpose of preventing her resistance (the jury was similarly deadlocked 10-2 in favor of a guilty verdict).
“People couldn’t even pace,” in the first room the jurors were sequestered in, the juror told ABC News. They were subsequently moved to a larger room. “They were just literally walking in circles where they were standing because they were losing their minds. People would just start crying out of nowhere, we wouldn’t even be talking about [the case] – and people would just start crying.”
At one point, the juror said, one man even punched the wall of the jury room out of frustration. “I think he broke his pinky knuckle,” the juror said. “If we kept going, there was definitely going to be a fight. They had fire sheriff’s deputies at the door and they could hear us and they kept coming in because they thought we were already fighting.”
During the deliberations, the juror said, they were careful to focus solely on Constand’s case, and did not discuss any of the accusations made by dozens of women against Cosby.
“We never brought anything outside in,” the juror said. “Never. Not once. If somebody would mention something, we would cut them off.”
On Wednesday, Judge Steven T. O’Neill ordered that the names of the jurors be released following multiple requests from media outlets seeking to get more insight into the trial, though he said in a statement that “jurors shall not disclose anything said or done in the jury room by any of their fellow jurors that may indicate his or her thoughts or opinions.”
O’Neill declared the Cosby case a mistrial Saturday, with prosecutors announcing shortly afterward that they planned to retry the case within four months.
The juror also revealed that the 12 jurors initially voted overwhelmingly in a non-binding poll to find Cosby not guilty on all three counts of aggravated indecent assault, a fact that ABC News’ chief legal affairs anchor, Dan Abrams, called “astonishing.”
“A verdict is reached only when the jurors send back the completed verdict form and inform the judge they have reached a verdict,” Abrams said, acknowledging that although unusual, the pre-trial vote did not impact the final decision. “That did not happen here.”