4 days into deliberations, jurors in Cosby trial still can't reach a verdict

CosbyMatt Rourke (Associated Press)Bill Cosby arrives for jury deliberations in his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Thursday, June 15, 2017.

The jury tasked with sealing Bill Cosby’s fate has not yet been able to reach a verdict.

After six days of testimony and closing arguments, the 12-person jury has started deliberating whether the popular entertainer is guilty of giving drugs to and molesting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand more than a decade ago.

On Thursday, the jury entered into its fourth day of deliberations — with little indication on whether the jurors are any closer to arriving at a decision.

Cosby, 79, is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault in relation to Constand, who first filed a civil claim against Cosby in 2005.

The jury of seven men and five women has been sequestered in a local hotel not far from the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Due to concerns of juror impartiality, the jurors were selected from Allegheny County, more than 300 miles from where the alleged assault took place.

Since Monday, the jury has been deliberating the evidence. The prosecution spent five days presenting evidence from Constand herself as well as expert witnesses, while the defence took just over six minutes to argue that Constand had consented to a relationship.

While many in the courthouse have been speculating about the jury’s progress, it has been couched under a thick veil of confidentiality — the jurors have been warned against talking to the media while judicial officials refused to tell The New York Timessay whether they are able to have a computer over the course of their sequester.

A sequestered jury is “not unlike being in a medium-security prison,” Paula L. Hannaford-Agor, director of the Center for Juries Studies at the National Center for State Courts, told the Times.

Over the last week, numerous commentators have compared Cosby’s case to the O.J. Simpson trial in 1994, which also drew extreme media attention and required a sequestered jury.

While there have been no clear indications on the progress of the deliberations, the jurors did ask to relisten to Constand’s testimony, in which she describes being given the pills, and asked for clarifications on the legal meaning of “without her knowledge” by Wednesday afternoon.

At the start of the deliberations, the jurors also wanted to revisit Cosby’s old descriptions of his relationship with Constand and the testimony of the Canadian police officer who took down Constand’s initial report back in 2005.

“At this point, we can assume there is some significant disagreement,” Michelle Madden Dempsey, a law professor at Villanova University told The New York Times. “But perhaps the length of deliberation simply reflects the fact that the jury is doing a thorough and thoughtful review and discussion of the issues.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the jury was showing “serious signs of fatigue” on Wednesday, and that one of the elderly members even looked like he was dozing off at one point.

“This is an incredible jury that has just acted with incredible dignity and fidelity,” Judge Steven T. O’Neill told the jury as he dismissed them Wednesday night. “I don’t have any higher praise. You have taken your task so seriously.”

The jury will emerge from deliberations whenever they decide whether to send Cosby to prison for as many as 10 years.

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