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Mistrial Declared In Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Case

Bill Cosby in the Montgomery County Courthouse June 7, 2017 in Norristown, Pennsylvania
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Bill Cosby in the Montgomery County Courthouse June 7, 2017 in Norristown, Pennsylvania Getty Images

After a jury said they were "hopelessly deadlocked," a Pennsylvania judge declared a mistrial in the sexual assault case against legendary entertainer Bill Cosby, Judge Steven T. O'Neill said,

Montgomery District Attorney Kevin Steele said he plans to retry Cosby. "I remind everyone that this is not vindication or victory. A mistrial is merely the justice system at work."

The jury had been deliberating for six days when the mistrial was called on Saturday morning. The jury had told Judge O'Neill that were deadlocked on Thursday but he urged them to try and reach a verdict. On Friday, one of Cosby's lawyers, Brian McMonagle, said, "This court has worked them 12-hour days. I believe this jury is tired, it’s weary. I’m afraid they believe they are being compelled to come back with a verdict."

The seven men and five women were asked to determine whether Cosby was guilty of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. She had alleged that in 2004 that Cosby gave her pills, knocking her out until she woke up and felt Cosby groping her breasts and"his hand inside my vagina, moving in and out." When she went to the Montgomery County prosecutor in 2005 about the incident, the authorities reportedly didn't feel they had enough evidence to try Cosby. Constand later went on to sue Cosby in civil court, and Cosby settled with her during the depositions.

However, dozens of women came forward in 2015, describing Cosby as a sexual predator who targeted women over decades. The deposition's in Constand's civil suit were released and the Montgomery County D.A.'s office decided to reopen the case and arrested Cosby.

The Washington Post described the courtroom when the judge announced the news:

As the mistrial was declared, Cosby sat at the defense table with his chin held high, a flat, blank look on his face. Across the well of the courtroom, jurors stood one-by-one in the jury box and said, “Yes,” as the judge asked whether each whether they agreed that the jury is “hopelessly deadlocked.” The jurors answered without hesitation, but several slumped forward in their chairs, elbows on their knees and fingers knit, looks of frustration on their faces.

After the questioning was done, the entertainer sat back in his chair, holding a slender cane that has been with him inside the courtroom each day to his chest. Cosby’s family was not in the courtroom to hear the judge’s decision.

The jury filed out almost within arm's reach of Andrea Constand, Cosby’s accuser. She stood respectfully, with a strained smile on her face. Afterwards, prosecutor Kevin Steele announced in court that he will retry Cosby.

During his closing statements, McMonagle admitted that Cosby strayed from his marriage—"When you dance outside your marriage, you’ve got to pay the band"—but also insisted that his client was innocent, "If at the end of a criminal trial you’ve got more questions than you’ve got answers, you’ve got reasonable doubt."

In his final remarks, D.A. Steele said to the jury, "This is a very straightforward case. If you have sexual relations with someone when they’re out, when they’re asleep, when they’re unconscious that’s a crime... I would suggest to you that Andrea Constand is a victim. A victim that has come before you and bared something very personal and very hard for us all to see."

Cosby, 79, did not testify during the trial. The charges against him are three felony charges of aggravated indecent assault. If he were convicted, he could face up to a 10 years in prison.

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