Bill Cosby civil trial jury will have to restart deliberations after nearly reaching verdict

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Jurors in the civil trial for allegations of sexual misconduct against actor and comedian Bill Cosby are due to resume deliberations after reaching a verdict on Friday for almost all of the questions put to them.

After two days of deliberation, the jury had concluded whether Cosby sexually assaulted plaintiff Judy Huth at the Playboy Mansion in 1975 when she was just 16, and whether she deserved damages.

Jurors answered eight of nine questions on their verdict form: the last asking whether Cosby’s actions warranted punitive damages.

Judge Craig Karlan had promised a juror that she could leave after Friday for a pre-commitment.

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Actor and comedian Bill Cosby walks to the courtroom during the fifth day of deliberations in the sexual assault trial of Bill Cosby at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, United States, on 16 June 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The judge elected to read the verdict on questions answered by the jury over the objections of Cosby’s attorneys. However, Karlan had to reverse his decision when deputies from the Santa Monica courthouse showed up and asked him to clear the courtroom. The courthouse has a mandatory closing time of 4:30 p.m. due to the lack of an overtime budget for MPs.

Karlan would not demand that the juror who had to leave return on Monday, so deliberations will have to resume with another juror in her place. “I won’t go back on my word,” he said.

Earlier today a note was delivered to the judge about what he said was a “personality issue” between two of the jurors which made their job difficult.

The judge called both jurors into the courtroom and got them to agree to allow each juror to be heard in the discussions. The jurors resumed deliberations but had several questions about issues with their verdict form for the judge and attorneys to discuss and answer, including how to calculate damages.

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 22: Actor/comedian Bill Cosby performs during a special performance honoring jazz musician Tony Williams at LaRosa Jazz Club on January 22, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 22: Actor/comedian Bill Cosby performs during a special performance honoring jazz musician Tony Williams at LaRosa Jazz Club on January 22, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
(Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

Cosby’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, called for a mistrial after lunch due to a photo taken by a member of Cosby’s team showing a juror standing near one of the comedian’s accusers who was seated in the audience.

Artist Lily Bernard, who has filed her own lawsuit against Cosby, said she has not spoken to any jurors.

“I never spoke to any jurors,” Bernard told the judge from his seat in the courtroom. “I would never do anything to jeopardize this case. I don’t even look at them.”

Jurors began deliberations Thursday morning after a two-week trial. Cosby was not in the courtroom.

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Bill Cosby (C), enters a courtroom for a hearing where his lawyers are expected to resume their battle with prosecutors over whether more than a dozen female accusers can testify at his sex trial next year, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, December 13, 2016.REUTERS/DavidMaialetti/Pool

Bill Cosby (C), enters a courtroom for a hearing where his lawyers are expected to resume their battle with prosecutors over whether more than a dozen female accusers can testify at his sex trial next year, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, December 13, 2016.REUTERS/DavidMaialetti/Pool

The 84-year-old was released from prison last year after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his 2018 criminal conviction. In a clip from a 2015 video deposition shown to jurors, Cosby denied having had any sexual contact with Huth. His spokesperson and his lawyer each reiterated his denial throughout the trial.

Bonjean instructed the jury in closing arguments to ignore the public allegations against Cosby and consider only the evidence presented at trial. She said the evidence does not prove Huth’s case.

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Huth’s attorney, Nathan Goldberg, told jurors that Cosby had to pay for the damages he caused his client.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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