NORRISTOWN >> Despite telling a judge they were deadlocked earlier in the day Thursday, the Montgomery County jurors weighing the fate of entertainer Bill Cosby at his sex assault trial indicated they will return Friday to continue deliberations.
The seven men and five women that make up the jury were dismissed shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday and returned to the hotel at which they are sequestered.
The jurors have deliberated four days ― four hours on Monday and 12 hours each on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, for a total of 40 hours, setting a record for deliberations in the county.
Shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday jurors sent a note to the judge announcing they were deadlocked.
“We cannot come to a unanimous consensus on any of the counts,” jurors wrote in the note to Judge Steven T. O’Neill.
Jurors, who were selected in Pittsburgh, did not indicate how widespread the split was, and all of them looked tired. Despite the deadlock, the judge instructed the jurors to continue their deliberations to see if they could work out their differences and deliver a verdict.
“If after further deliberations you are still deadlocked on some or all of the charges, you should report that to me,” O’Neill told jurors, who then resumed their deliberations.
Jurors did not contact the judge again until they were brought to court at 9 p.m. to end their deliberations for the day.
Cosby, 79, showed no reaction throughout the day. The alleged victim Andrea Constand did not exhibit any outward emotion.
But earlier in the day, while the jury was still deliberating, Constand posted a video on Twitter that depicted her shooting hoops in a hallway in the district attorney’s office, along with the caption, “Always Follow Through.” The post caught the attention of reporters and Twitter users.
Defense lawyer Brian J. McMonagle and co-defense lawyer Angela C. Agrusa asked the judge to declare a mistrial after the deadlock was announced in the morning but O’Neill said “it is simply inappropriate at this time.”
McMonagle, Agrusa and District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and co-prosecutors Kristen Feden and M. Stewart Ryan did not address the media.
William Henry Cosby Jr., as his name appears on charging documents, is accused of sexually assaulting Constand, the former director of women’s basketball operations at Temple University, at his Cheltenham mansion in 2004. He is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault and faces a possible maximum sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison if convicted of the charges.
The announcement that the jury was deadlocked set off a wave of emotions outside the courthouse where supporters of both Cosby and Constand waited for word of a verdict.
“It was very depressing. I just felt, gosh, we have to sit here and wait some more and hope that they can come to some kind of conclusion, some kind of resolution,” said Victoria Valentino, 74, who previously accused Cosby of uncharged sexual misconduct and who has been attending the trial to support Constand. “It’s so difficult for me to understand how these people can all read the same testimony that we are all reading and still not see the truth in it all, how they cannot see through the smoke and mirrors.”
Valentino, of Pasadena, Calif., said people “confuse the character with the actor,” speculating that a juror may be looking at Cosby as Dr. Cliff Huxtable, the character Cosby played on “The Cosby Show.”
As hordes of media called-in or went live on television to report the developments news helicopters hovered over the courthouse.
Garvey Black, of Brooklyn, N.Y. and Philadelphia, who stood outside the courthouse holding a sign that read, “Free Mr. Cosby From This Attack On His Blackness,” said he “needed to be out here because it seems like nobody has Mr. Cosby’s back.”
“I’m fine with (the deadlock) as long as it leads to an acquittal,” said Black, adding he believed the trial was “a sham.” “It’s definitely a waste of taxpayers’ money. Here it is, people don’t have healthcare, we have homelessness, we have schools crumbling and we keep having these ridiculous trials for no apparent reason. The evidence is overwhelmingly in Mr. Cosby’s favor. Let’s let that elder gentleman go home.”
Other Cosby supporters chanted “We Want Castor,” referring to former District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr., who in February 2005 determined there was “insufficient and unreliable evidence” to prosecute Cosby. In the same breath, the Cosby supporters chanted, “Steele Must Go,” referring to the current district attorney who is leading the prosecution against Cosby.
Prosecutors reopened the investigation in July 2015 after Cosby’s deposition connected to a 2005 civil suit Constand filed against him was unsealed by a judge. In that deposition, Cosby, according to testimony, admitted he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex in the 1970s. Prosecutors contend Cosby also admitted for the first time to developing a romantic interest in Constand when he saw her at a Temple basketball game and to having sexual contact with Constand.
Steele announced the charges against Cosby on Dec. 30, 2015, just before the 12-year statute of limitations expired to file charges.