Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News World

Jury in Bill Cosby sex trial asks for definition of reasonable doubt

Jurors in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial have asked for a definition of "reasonable doubt" on their fifth day of deliberations, a day after telling the judge they were deadlocked on all charges.

The panel also reheard parts of Cosby's lurid deposition evidence in which he acknowledged giving sedatives to women he wanted to have sex with.

Cosby gave the deposition more than a decade ago as part of accuser Andrea Constand's lawsuit against him.

The 79-year-old comedian is charged with three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault over allegations that he drugged and sexually violated Ms Constand, 44. A conviction could put him in prison for the rest of his life.

Jurors made the requests a few minutes after resuming deliberations on Friday. They have been working for more than 40 hours since getting the case on Monday.

The TV star said in a 2006 deposition that he got seven prescriptions for quaaludes in the 1970s after telling his doctor he had a sore back. Cosby said he never took the powerful sedative, preferring to keep it on hand for social situations.

"When you got the quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?" Cosby was asked.

"Yes," he answered.

But he said he no longer had them when he met Ms Constand in 2002 at Temple University.

Cosby has said he gave her the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl before their sexual encounter at his home two years later. Prosecutors have suggested he might have given her quaaludes, a highly popular party drug in the 1970s that was banned in the US in 1982.

Cosby's lawyer said he and Ms Constand were lovers sharing a consensual moment of intimacy.

The jury resumed deliberations after having the evidence read back to them and listening again to the definition of reasonable doubt, the threshold that prosecutions must cross to win a conviction.

Judge Steven O'Neill said defence lawyers have made at least four bids for a mistrial as the deliberations have worn on without a verdict, but he will let the jurors work as long as they want.

The judge brought Cosby into court to make sure he had approved of the mistrial requests, asking the comedian if he knew that a mistrial would mean he could be prosecuted again.

Judge O'Neill also called out Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt for taking to the courthouse steps and telling reporters the case should end in a mistrial.

"You have a spokesman who is explaining to the media what a mistrial means - at least what he believes a mistrial is," Judge O'Neill told Cosby in court.

Mr Wyatt had said the deadlock showed that jurors doubted Ms Constand's story.

"They're conflicted about the inconsistencies in Ms Constand's testimony," he told reporters. "And they're hearing Mr C's testimony, and he's extremely truthful. And that's created this doubt."

AP

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph