Jurors mulling allegations of sexual abuse raised against actor and comedian Bill Cosby will have to restart their deliberations on Monday, despite nearly reaching a verdict in the case on Friday.
After two full days of deliberations in Santa Monica Superior Court, the Los Angeles County jury on Friday told Judge Craig Karlan they had come to an agreement on eight out of the nine questions posed to them on their verdict cards — including whether Cosby had sexually assaulted plaintiff Judy Huth at the Playboy Mansion when she was 16 in 1975, and whether Huth deserved any damages.
The remaining, unanswered question asked whether Cosby acted in a way that should require punitive damages.
Karlan initially agreed to hear the partial verdict, despite protests from the 83-year-old actor’s legal team. He was forced to change course however, when deputies arrived at the courthouse and ordered them to clear out the building, which was scheduled to close at 4:30 p.m. due to a lack of budget to pay deputies’ overtime.
Karlan had previously agreed to let one juror, selected to serve as foreperson, leave after Friday for a prior commitment. He said he would not require her to return on Monday for deliberations, triggering the need for an alternate to take on her spot and a fresh slate for the remaining jurors.
“I won’t go back on my word,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Karlan received a note about what he called a “personality issue” between two of the jurors that was inhibiting their ability to move forward with their work. He called them all into the courtroom and reminded them that every juror must be heard, and the deliberations continued.
After the lunch break, Cosby’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, asked for a mistrial, citing a photo taken of a juror standing near a Cosby accuser who had been sitting in the audience and watching the trial. Karlan dismissed the request, concluding that no conversations of controversy occurred.
Cosby, who was released from prison after his Pennsylvania criminal conviction was tossed nearly a year ago, was not present in the courtroom. He has repeatedly denied having any sexual contact with Huth.
With News Wire Services