Bill Cosby’s Trial Ends in a Mistrial, but the District Attorney Will Retry the Case
After more than 50 hours of deliberation, the jury of five women and seven men has deadlocked in Bill Cosby’s trial for aggravated indecent assault, resulting in a mistrial. However, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele has stated that he will retry the case.
DA Steele announces we will retry this case.
— Montgomery County DA (@MontcopaDA) June 17, 2017
After decades of sexual assault allegations from dozens of women, Cosby finally faced a criminal trial in Montgomery County, charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault and facing up to 30 years in prison. He was charged in relation to the alleged assault of Andrea Constand, formerly an employee of Cosby’s alma mater Temple University, in 2004. During the trial, Constand’s testimony was steady, harrowing, and hauntingly familiar for anyone who has read the accounts of the dozens of other women who’ve come forward. Constand’s mother also testified powerfully to her phone confrontation with Cosby, and the transformation in her daughter after the alleged assault.
Constand initially reported her assault to the police in 2005, but the District Attorney at the time decided not to press charges. The current DA, Kevin Steele, promised during his election campaign to pursue charges against Cosby, and his office filed them in 2015, days before Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations (SOL) for indecent assault and rape charges would set in. Constand also brought a civil suit against Cosby in 2005-2006, for which the actor signed a pretty damning deposition which was unsealed for this criminal trial.
Constand is the only one of Cosby’s accusers to have her day in criminal court. Some of the other women have pursued civil cases or out-of-court settlements, but the vast majority cannot pursue criminal charges because of a statute of limitations for sexual assault and rape cases. These SOLs vary from state to state, with some states having no SOL and others having SOLs as restrictive as three years from the crime; Mother Jones compiled a comparative list (from 2014, so some listings may be out-of-date) if you’d like to see where your state ranks.
Given Cosby’s deposition, Constand’s testimony, and the recorded phone call between her mother and Cosby, I’m just…I wish I could be surprised, I wish I could be furious, but right now I’m just exhausted and disheartened. Our justice system and our society at-large don’t believe women. Multiple women testified that Cosby did this. Cosby himself didn’t even take the stand. But all it took was a disgusting closing statement from the defense to convince some members of the jury that Constand lied.
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