WASHINGTON – The jury for famed American stand-up comedian and actor Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial has been unable to reach a verdict after some 30 hours but was instructed Thursday by the judge to continue its deliberations.
The jury began deliberating Monday after both sides made their closing arguments in the trial, held at the Montgomery County Courthouse in the Philadelphia suburb of Norristown, Pennsylvania.
The 79-year-old Cosby, who opted not to testify in the trial, is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and molesting defendant Andrea Constand, a former employee of Temple University’s women’s basketball program who is now 44, at his home outside Philadelphia in 2004.
During the trial, prosecutors read the jury a deposition in which Cosby – a trustee of that university and its most famous alumnus – acknowledged in 2005-2006 as part of a civil suit brought against him by Constand that he had given her Benedryl, a non-prescription allergy medication.
He said her gave her those pills to relax her and then touched her beneath her clothes, adding that he went “into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection.”
Cosby also acknowledged in that same deposition that he had given quaaludes – powerful depressants – decades earlier to other women he wanted to have sexual relations with, although he said all of those encounters were consensual.
Prosecutors contended that Cosby also gave quaaludes, or another similarly powerful drug, to Constand, and an expert witness testimony supported that argument.
Constand, for her part, testified on the witness stand that she had rejected Cosby’s sexual advances on two other occasions.
Cosby’s defense team tried to establish during the trial that the two were in a romantic relationship in 2004, while Constand testified that they were merely friends.
Dozens of women have come forward to accuse Cosby of sexual assault, although the statute of limitations is believed to have expired in all the other cases.
Cosby, who is best known for starring in and producing the highly successful 1980s television sitcom “The Cosby Show,” could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison on each count if convicted.