According to a recent report by the Associated Press, Bill Cosby has avoided a conviction in his sexual assault trial stemming from an event that occurred more than a decade ago. This avoidance may be only temporary however, as Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele promised to put Cosby on trial a second time.
"She has shown such courage through this, and we are in awe of what she has done. She's entitled to a verdict in this case." DA Steele said of Cosby's accuser, Ms. Andrea Constand, 44, who claims Cosby drugged and then sexually assaulted her on a couch at his Philadelphia estate in 2004.
Constand's lawyer, Dolores Troiani, also spoke of justice for Constand. "She's a very spiritual woman, she believes things happen for a purpose, and I think the purpose is ... it should encourage other women to come forward and have their day in court," Troiani said before acknowledging the difficulty the jury is facing in the case.
Troiani stated that the amount of time passed since the event, as well as the alleged drugging, has resulted in Constand's inability to recall specific details regarding the event.
After 52 hours of deliberations lasting six days, the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision, forcing Judge Steven O'Neill to declare mistrial. Cosby's defense team briefly declared victory, despite the judge's insistence that "a mistrial is neither vindication nor victory for anybody."
Cosby's wife of 53 years, Camille, spoke out against the handling of court proceedings thus far, accusing DA Steele of being "heinously and exploitively ambitious" and Judge O'Neill as "overtly arrogant, collaborating with the district attorney." Cosby himself did not comment on the decision, remaining calm and collected as the judge announced the verdict.
Regardless of the hung jury, it's no question that Cosby's squeaky-clean image is severely damaged as a result of the assault accusations, and has been since the public release of Cosby's condemning deposition from Constand's civil lawsuit against him in 2005 and 2006.
During this lawsuit, under questioning from Constand's lawyer, Cosby admitted to having obtained several prescriptions for quaaludes in the 1970s and offering the medication to women he wanted to have sex with. Furthermore, Cosby also said he gave Constand three half-tablets of the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl to "help her relax" before a sexual encounter at his home, though Cosby insisted this was consensual.
In the closing arguments for the case, Cosby's lawyer, Brian McMonagle, insisted that there was a romantic relationship between Cosby and Constand, citing dozens of telephone calls that took place after the event at Cosby's estate, one of which lasted 49 minutes.
Constand claimed that these phone calls were simply regarding the women's basketball squad at Temple University, where Constand was the director of team operations and Cosby sat on the board of trustees. "This isn't talking to a trustee. This is talking to a lover," McMonagle said in response.
DA Steele acknowledged the question of faulty memory in his closing arguments. "There are some things in this case that should be fuzzy. Why? Because he drugged her to do this," Steele told jurors.
"She spent a lot more time trying to forget what happened than trying to remember that night."