Cosby Jury Deadlocks

Jun 17, 2017
Originally published on June 17, 2017 1:36 pm
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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The trial of Bill Cosby on sexual-assault charges has been declared a mistrial. The jury deliberated over five days and declared they were deadlocked on all three counts against the entertainer. Bobby Allyn of WHYY is at the courthouse in suburban Philadelphia and joins us now. And, Bobby, tell us what happened today.

BOBBY ALLYN, BYLINE: Yeah. So in a very devastating decision, you know, especially for the prosecution, the judge said the jurors are at a stalemate, and they're hopelessly deadlocked. That's the language that he used. They've been deliberating for more than five days now, trying to figure out Bill Cosby's fate. And they just could not come to an agreement. So the mistrial means Cosby will walk out of the courthouse, and his case will remain unsolved.

BLOCK: The prosecution has said they will retry the case?

ALLYN: Yeah. The prosecution has already said that they plan to refile criminal charges against Bill Cosby. And it should be said, you know, that's going to be a very, very difficult proposition. And it really hinges on the participation of accuser Andrea Constand.

I mean, she was on the stand for more than seven hours and endured extremely excruciating cross-examination. There was lots of tearful testimony from Constand, Constand's mother, one other accuser and other family members of accusers of Bill Cosby. So getting all of those people to go over this whole process again is really going to be critical to putting this case back on.

And from legal experts I talked to - they say, you know, perhaps the prosecution has learned lessons from this mistrial and will approach it a little differently. But the defense, too, has probably learned some lessons. And they're both probably going to take another whack at this.

BLOCK: What was the reaction there in the courtroom, Bobbie? Can you tell us how how Bill Cosby and his team reacted when they heard the news?

ALLYN: Yeah. So, I mean, there's a real sense of relief in the courtroom among defense counsel. I mean, they have been basically, you know, pushing and pushing and pushing for this mistrial since deliberations began. You know, you can tell by just looking at Bill Cosby. You know, for the whole deliberation process, he seemed frustrated. His aid would bring a pillow with him to sit on because he was getting tired just, you know, sort of sitting around in the courtroom, waiting for the jury to come back with the decision.

And this mistrial - it just - you could that Bill Cosby was very relieved by this decision. His spokesman and his defense attorney, like I said, have been asking the court for the mistrial more than a handful of times. So having a final decision definitely delivered a sense of relief that was very visible.

BLOCK: And was his accuser, Andrea Constand, in the courtroom to hear that this did end in a mistrial?

ALLYN: Yeah. And I couldn't really see Andrea Constand's reaction to this. I wasn't within sight to see what she looked like. But I'm sure we're going to get a lot of reactions from potentially her, other accusers, supporters of victims of sexual assault. You know, it's - we're about to see a lot of emotional reactions outside the courthouse now. And, you know, this has been going on for more than two weeks. It's raining outside of the courthouse right now. All the attorneys, the judge, the jurors, the journalists were all fatigued and wore down.

This is just - you know, it brings some sense of resolve and finality to this case. But for the complainant, Andrea Constand, for her all her advocates for the, you know, 60 other accusers of Bill Cosby, this is a very devastating loss. And, already, I'm seeing on social media that a lot of folks who were hoping for a sense of collective justice...

BLOCK: Yeah.

ALLYN: ...Through a conviction are not going to get that. And there's a real sense of disappointment right now.

BLOCK: Right. And news today, as we're reporting with Bobby Allyn from WHYY, that the trial of Bill Cosby on sexual-assault charges has been declared a mistrial. Bobby Allyn, thanks so much.

ALLYN: Thanks, Melissa. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.