Bill Cosby civil trial jury must start deliberations from scratch
By the end of the court day Friday, the Los Angeles County jury had come to agreement on whether Bill Cosby Cosby had sexually assaulted plaintiff Judy Huth at the Playboy Mansion when she was 16 in 1975, and whether Huth deserved any damages.
After two days of deliberations in which they reached verdicts on nearly all of the questions put before them, jurors in a civil trial who were deciding on sexual abuse allegations against Bill Cosby will have to start from scratch on Monday.
By the end of the court day Friday, the Los Angeles County jury had come to agreement on whether Cosby had sexually assaulted plaintiff Judy Huth at the Playboy Mansion when she was 16 in 1975, and whether Huth deserved any damages. In all they had answered eight of nine questions on their verdict form, all but one that asked whether Cosby acted in a way that should require punitive damages.
Judge Craig Karlan, who had promised one juror when she agreed to serve that she could leave after Friday for a prior commitment, decided over the objections of Cosby’s attorneys to accept and read the verdict on the questions the jury had answered. But he had to change course when deputies at the Santa Monica Courthouse appeared and required him to clear the courtroom. The courthouse has a required closure time of 4:30 p.m. because of no budget for deputies’ overtime.
Karlan refused to require the departing juror, who had been chosen as foreperson, to return on Monday, so jurors will have to begin again with an alternate in her place.
“I won’t go back on my word,” Karlan said.
It was a bizarre ending to a strange day of jury deliberations. It began with a note to the judge about what he called a “personality issue” between two of the jurors that was making their work difficult.
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After calling them to the courtroom and getting them to agree that every juror would be heard in discussions, the jurors resumed, but had a steady flurry of questions on issues with their verdict form that the judge and attorneys had to discuss and answer. One question was on how to calculate damages.
After the lunch break, Cosby lawyer Jennifer Bonjean moved for a mistrial because of a photo taken by a member of Cosby’s team that showed a juror standing in close proximity to a Cosby accuser who had been sitting in the audience and watching the trial.