NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A new round of deliberations is raising the prospects that Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial will end with a verdict instead of a hung jury.
Jurors who have appeared stressed and even angry seemed more upbeat as they left court outside Philadelphia Thursday night than on previous nights, despite enduring another marathon session.
The sequestered jurors had deliberated about 30 hours before telling Judge Steven O’Neill earlier Thursday that they couldn’t reach a unanimous decision on any of the counts against the 79-year-old comedian. The judge told them to try again for a verdict.
As the jurors left for the day, O’Neill heaped praise on them, thanking them for their dedication and the sacrifice they’ve made being 300 miles (482 kilometers) from home in the Pittsburgh area.
“I want to reiterate how proud I am of each and every one of you,” O’Neill said as he sent the jury back to the hotel. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything that you’ve done.”
They will get back to it Friday morning.
Cosby is charged with three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault stemming from Andrea Constand’s allegations that he drugged and violated her at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.
Each count carries a maximum 10-year prison term, though the counts could be merged at sentencing if Cosby is convicted.
Cosby’s lawyer said he and Constand were lovers sharing a consensual moment of intimacy.
The jury of seven men and five women have deliberated for nearly 40 hours since getting the case Monday.
Cosby’s spokesman said the impasse showed that jurors doubted Constand’s story.
“They’re conflicted about the inconsistencies in Ms. Constand’s testimony,” spokesman Andrew Wyatt said. “And they’re hearing Mr. C.’s testimony, and he’s extremely truthful. And that’s created this doubt.”
Constand’s lawyer, Dolores Troiani, said only that the “jury is apparently working very hard.” The district attorney’s office declined to comment.
Dozens of women have come forward to say Cosby had drugged and assaulted them, but this was the only case to result in criminal charges.
The jury must come to a unanimous decision to convict or acquit. If the panel can’t break the deadlock, the judge could declare a hung jury and a mistrial. In that case, prosecutors would get four months to decide whether they want to retry the TV star or drop the charges.
The case has already helped demolish his image as America’s Dad, cultivated during his eight-year run as kindly Dr. Cliff Huxtable on the top-rated “The Cosby Show” in the 1980s and ’90s.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.
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