WASHINGTON – The judge in famed American stand-up comedian and television actor Bill Cosby’s sexual-assault case declared a mistrial on Saturday after the jury was unable to reach a verdict following six days of deliberations.
The 79-year-old Cosby, who had pleaded not guilty to drugging and molesting the former director of operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team, Andrea Constand, in 2004, will be released on bail.
But the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, based in Norristown, Pennsylvania, said it would retry the case.
The jury of seven men and five women had been deliberating since Monday, when attorneys for both sides gave their closing arguments.
In its final statements, the prosecution repeatedly referred to a deposition in a 2005 civil case filed by Constand, in which Cosby testified that he had touched Constand beneath her clothes after giving her pills. That testimony had been read to the jury earlier in the trial.
Cosby, who had been charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault, said in that decade-old testimony that he had given Constand a non-prescription allergy medication, Benadryl, to relax her because she said she was stressed. He added that the sexual contact was consensual.
But he also admitted that in the 1970s he had given Quaaludes to multiple women with whom he wanted to have sexual relations.
The 44-year-old Constand, however, testified during the trial that the pills Cosby gave her at his home outside Philadelphia in 2004 left her powerless to fight off his advances. She also denied that the two had had a romantic relationship prior to that encounter, saying she considered Cosby only a friend and mentor.
An expert witness called by the prosecution said the physical sensation described by Constand was consistent with someone who had taken Quaaludes, or another similarly powerful drug.
Cosby opted not to take the witness stand during the trial, which began last week.
Dozens of other women also have come forward to accuse Cosby of drugging and molesting them.
Those alleged acts, however, date back as far back as the 1960s and are not subject to criminal legal proceedings due to statute-of-limitation laws.
Constand sued Cosby in civil court in 2005, but the comedian and actor reached an undisclosed settlement with her that allowed him to avoid a criminal trial.
But allegations later made by dozens of women and the 2015 unsealing of Cosby’s decade-old deposition led to the case being reopened.
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.