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Jurors in the civil trial for sexual misconduct allegations against actor and comedian Bill Cosby must start deliberations over after reaching a verdict on Friday for nearly all the questions asked of them.
After two days of deliberations, the jury had concluded whether Cosby sexually assaulted plaintiff Judy Huth at the Playboy Mansion in 1975 when she was just 16-years-old, and whether she deserved any damages.
Jurors answered eight of nine questions on their verdict form: the final one asking if Cosby’s actions warranted punitive damages.
Judge Craig Karlan had promised one juror that she could leave after Friday for a prior commitment.
The judge opted to read the verdict on the questions the jury had answered despite objections from Cosby’s attorneys. However, Karlan had to reverse his decision when deputies at the Santa Monica Courthouse showed up and required him to clear the courtroom. The courthouse has a required 4:30 p.m. closing time due to there being no budget for deputies’ overtime.
Karlan wouldn’t require the juror who had to leave to return on Monday, so deliberations will have to restart with an alternate juror in her place. “I won’t go back on my word,” he said.
Earlier in the day, a note was given to the judge about what he referred to as a “personality issue” between two of the jurors that was making their work difficult.
The judge called the two jurors to the courtroom and had them agree to allow every juror to be heard in discussions. The jurors resumed deliberations but had several questions on issues with their verdict form that the judge and attorneys had to talk about and answer, including how to calculate damages.
Cosby lawyer Jennifer Bonjean requested a mistrial after lunch because of a photo taken by a member of Cosby’s team showing a juror standing near one of the comedian’s accusers who had been sitting in the audience.
Artist Lily Bernard, who has filed her own lawsuit against Cosby, said she had not talked to any jurors.
“I never spoke to any juror, ever,” Bernard told the judge from her seat in the courtroom. “I would never do anything to jeopardize this case. I don’t even look at them.”
Jurors started deliberations Thursday morning following a two-week trial. Cosby was not in the courtroom.
The 84-year-old was freed from prison last year after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his 2018 criminal conviction. In a snippet from a 2015 video deposition shown to jurors, Cosby denied having any sexual contact with Huth. His spokesman and attorney have each reiterated his denial throughout the trial.
Bonjean asked the jury in closing arguments to tune out public allegations against Cosby and only consider the evidence presented during the trial. She said the evidence does not prove Huth’s case.
Huth attorney Nathan Goldberg told jurors Cosby had to pay for the damage he had done to his client.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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