After two days of jury deliberation in a civil trial against Bill Cosby, the notoriously slow gears of justice got even slower.
As reported by the Associated Press, the jurors, who “reached verdicts on nearly all of the questions put before them,” will need to start over early next week, and re-deliberate with a new member and foreperson.
Judge Craig Karlan is honoring a promise he made to one of the jurors when she first agreed to serve according to AP. She noted that she had a prior commitment, and would need to leave after Friday. This juror, who had also been chosen as foreperson, will not be forced to stay until next week. “I won’t go back on my word,” the judge said.
As such, the remaining jurors need to reconvene early next week and begin deliberations again with a replacement.
Judge Karlan seemed ready on Friday to hear the verdicts in “eight of the nine questions on their verdict form,” with the remaining one not tied to Cosby potentially making punitive damages. But Karlan was ordered to clear the court by the Santa Monica Courthouse. There was, apparently, a strict 4:30 p.m. closure due to a lack of budget for overtime.
The civil case dates back to 2014, when Judy Huth accused the disgraced comic and star of sexual assault at the Playboy Mansion in 1974, when she was 16. Because she was a minor at the time of the alleged assault, the charge overrides typical statutes of limitation. Cosby has denied the assault, as he has with the over 50 women who have made accusations against him.
Cosby was released from prison in 2021 after nearly three years when his conviction of sexual assault against Andrea Constand was overturned due to a previously negotiated deal with a Pennsylvania district attorney. The release does not mean that the 84-year-old television star did not commit a crime, but it does mean that he can not be prosecuted for it.
The current civil case’s jury deliberations had already been unusual, before this setback. There were reported “personality issues” between the jurors, and multiple inquiries made to the judge about how to calculate damages. One of Cosby’s lawyers called for a mistrial when it was believed that another one of Cosby’s accusers, Lili Bernard, had made contact with a juror, which both the juror and accuser denied. Bernard filed a lawsuit against Cosby in October 2021. The New York Post has reported that several accusations against Cosby have been settled by his insurer, against his will.