In a strange turn of events, the jury in a Bill Cosby civil lawsuit must re-deliberate and start over from scratch on Monday to decide verdicts on sexual abuse allegations against the actor-comedian.
The Associated Press detailed the strange technicality on Saturday, in which jurors — after two days of deliberations — reached answers on nearly all nine of the questions put before them, save for one. But before the last decision could be reached on Friday, deputies in the Santa Monica Courthouse required the judge to clear the courtroom by 4:30 p.m. that afternoon because the courthouse has no budget to pay the deputies overtime.
However, Judge Craig Karlan had promised one juror she could leave after Friday in order to serve a prior commitment. But when the courthouse was cleared, the judge stood by his word that she would not have to come back on Monday, meaning that the remaining jurors will now deliberate all over again with a new juror as an alternate.
That wasn’t even the only weird thing that has taken place thus far in the Cosby civil lawsuit, which kicked off jury deliberations just this week in Los Angeles County. The AP also reported that the judge learned about “personality issues” between two of the jurors that were slowing down the process, forcing the judge to ensure that all jurors would be heard in discussions.
What’s more, Cosby’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, earlier moved for a mistrial because Cosby’s team presented a photo of one of the jurors standing in close proximity to another Cosby accuser who has filed her own civil lawsuit against the comedian. The AP says the judge quickly dismissed the mistrial motion, saying that the photo didn’t prove the juror and the accuser had spoken.
Cosby, 84, did not attend the trial.
The civil suit involves plaintiff Judy Huth, who accused Cosby of sexually assaulting her at the Playboy Mansion in 1974 when she was 15 years old. Huth claimed that Cosby brought her to the Playboy Mansion in 1974, instructing her to say that she was 19 if anyone asked.
“While at the Playboy Mansion, plaintiff told Cosby that she needed to use the bathroom,” Huth’s lawsuit against Cosby reads. “Cosby directed her to a bathroom within a bedroom suite near the game room. When plaintiff emerged from the bathroom, she found Cosby sitting on the bed. He asked her to sit beside him. He then proceeded to sexually molest her by attempting to put his hand down her pants, and then taking her hand in his hand and performing a sex act on himself without her consent.”
The actor and comedian was previously deposed in the case in October 2014. Huth initially said the assault took place in 1975 but later revised the timeline to 1974. Cosby’s team unsuccessfully attempted to have the case thrown out of court over that change.
Cosby, who has long maintained his innocence against accusations of sexual assault, was released last June after he served three years of a three-to-10-year state prison sentence over a felony sexual assault charge from 2018. In overturning the conviction, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that Cosby cannot be retried and that the prosecutor who brought the case was bound by an agreement from his predecessor to not bring charges.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, leaving in place a decision by Pennsylvania’s highest court to throw out his conviction and set him free.