Juror: Cosby panel was concerned about ‘politics’ of case
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A juror in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial said Thursday that some jurors were concerned that prosecutors waited 10 years to charge him, expressing suspicion that politics had played a role in the case.
The juror told The Associated Press that the panel was almost evenly split in its deliberations, with a similar number of jurors wanting to convict the 79-year-old entertainer as acquit him on charges he drugged and molested a woman at his Philadelphia-area home in 2004.
He was the second juror to speak out after the jury deadlocked in the case. A mistrial was declared Saturday after 52 hours of deliberations. Prosecutors plan to put Cosby on trial again.
The juror who spoke to the AP questioned the long delay in bringing charges against the TV star, suggesting that “no new evidence from ’05 to now has showed up, no stained clothing, no smoking gun, nothing.”
In reality, prosecutors reopened the investigation in 2015 after the public release of a deposition that Cosby gave in 2005 and 2006 as part of accuser Andrea Constand’s lawsuit against him — testimony that hadn’t been offered when another district attorney passed on the case in early 2005. Prosecutors used Cosby’s deposition as evidence at the criminal trial.
The juror spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive deliberations.
Constand, a former Temple University employee, told jurors Cosby gave her pills that made her woozy and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay paralyzed on a couch, unable to tell him to stop. Cosby has said his encounter with Constand was consensual.
Constand, now 44, initially went to police about a year after she said Cosby assaulted her, but a prosecutor declared her case too weak to bring charges.
A decade later, another district attorney revived the probe after excerpts from Cosby’s lurid deposition about drugs and sex became public and dozens of women came forward also alleging sexual assault by him. Cosby was charged shortly before the statute of limitations was set to expire.
The juror who spoke to the AP said other jurors expressed the view in the deliberating room that “politics was involved.”
“I think they created this whole thing, a case that was settled in ’05, and we had to bring it up again in ’17 with no new evidence,” the juror said.
The juror declined to reveal whether he wanted to convict or acquit Cosby but left little doubt about how he felt.
He said he was suspicious of Constand’s story, questioning why she waited to tell authorities and suggesting the clothing she wore to Cosby’s house had influenced his view of their encounter.
“When you ask for help on your resume, on your resignation letter, which she did, and he, Mr. Cosby, invites her to his home and she arrives in a bare midriff with incense and bath salts, that’s a question,” said the juror, appearing to lump several meetings between Cosby and Constand into one.
Cosby, he said, seemed more truthful in his deposition, in which he acknowledged giving pills to Constand before their sexual encounter. The comedian also described how, in the 1970s, he obtained prescriptions for the powerful sedative quaaludes for the purpose of offering them to women with whom he wanted to have sex.
“He openly admitted that what he gave ‘em, he gave ’em pills,” the juror said. “He almost incriminated himself. It was very, very honest from his side. You could believe from his testimony what he did, but not from her.”
The juror characterized the deliberations as tense.
“Crying by men and by women and more than one,” he said. “And the tears came towards the end, it was so tense.”
Another juror told ABC News on Wednesday that jurors had voted 10-2 to convict Cosby on two of three counts against him. The juror who spoke to the AP confirmed that vote but said three people then changed their minds. He said the panel was typically more “evenly split” and “up the middle.”
Cosby is eager to get back to work following the mistrial, a spokesman said. A series of town halls is planned to help educate young people about the problems their misbehavior could create, spokesman Andrew Wyatt told a Birmingham, Alabama, TV station. The issue “is bigger than Bill Cosby” and can affect any young person, especially young athletes, Wyatt said, without elaborating.
The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.
Rubinkam reported from northeastern Pennsylvania.
For more on Cosby, including stories about the trial, historical photos, videos and an audio series exploring the case, visit http://www.apnews.com/tag/CosbyonTrial .