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Cosby juror says he didn't believe 'well-coached' Constand

Laura McCrystal, Jeremy Roebuck, Staff Writer

Updated: Thursday, June 22, 2017, 9:43 PM

Gianna Constand, left, and her daughter Andrea Constand, right, walk toward the courtroom inside the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, PA on June 12, 2017. Cosby is on trial for sexual assault. Both women testified in the trial.

PITTSBURGH — A juror in Bill Cosby’s sex assault trial said Thursday that he did not believe the testimony of accuser Andrea Constand because she willingly went alone to the entertainer’s home and brought him gifts on more than one occasion.

“She was well-coached,” he said of Constand’s two days on the witness stand. “Let’s face it: She went up to his house with a bare midriff and incense and bath salts. What the heck?”

The juror, who spoke with the Inquirer and Daily News at his home on the condition of anonymity, would not say whether he wanted to convict or acquit Cosby. But he said the seven men and five women on the panel were nearly evenly split after 52 hours of deliberations, a deadlock that prompted Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill to declare a mistrial on Saturday. He also said Cosby had already “paid dearly” for the allegations and should not be retried.

The juror was the second to offer a window into the deliberation room of the case, and his account appeared to contradict the first. That juror told ABC News on Monday that 10 of the 12 panel members were prepared to find Cosby guilty on two of the three counts against him.

The juror who discussed the case Thursday said that at one point deep into deliberations, there had been a 10-2 vote to convict Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting Constand, but that three panel members later changed their votes and wanted to acquit him.

Votes were split “up the middle: young and old, black and white, men and women,” he said.

He said he thought the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict because the language describing the charges – three counts of aggravated indecent assault stemming from an incident in 2004 – was confusing and “too legal.”

Jurors struggled over terms such as reckless and severely impaired while debating whether Cosby drugged and molested Constand without her consent, he said. Some of their requests to review testimony during deliberations, he said, were based on desire to find those words in the evidence.

“We were trying to match the testimony up with the charges,” he said. “Everybody’s interpretation of those words was something different.”

He spoke a day after O’Neill, acting on a petition from news outlets including the Inquirer and Daily News, released the names of the 12 jurors and six alternates who were chosen in Allegheny County and sequestered for the trial near Norristown. Most have since refused to comment on the case or their deliberations, following a directive the judge gave before discharging them Saturday and repeated in a ruling this week.

Though the juror who spoke Thursday did not reveal his vote, he did make clear his skepticism about Constand, the 44-year-old accuser from Toronto who said she viewed Cosby only as a friend and mentor and never sought a romantic relationship. Specifically, the juror said, she should have gone to Cosby’s home only if she was “dressed properly and left the incense in the store,” referring to a gift that she brought him when the two formed a friendship before the alleged assault.

In a deposition read to jurors, Cosby detailed a sexual liaison he had with Constand when she showed up at his home with her midriff exposed, some time before the night of the alleged assault. Constand denies that encounter ever occurred.​

Still, the juror’s impression seemed to echo the trial defense Cosby’s lawyers sought to present: that Constand, then a 31-year-old Temple University employee, was in or seeking a romantic relationship with the then-66-year-old entertainer and world-famous university trustee.

He said he found Cosby’s own words in 2005, to police and in the deposition for a civil lawsuit filed by Constand, convincing. In that deposition and since, Cosby maintained any sexual contact was consensual.

“He was extremely honest. He admitted to things,” the juror said.

He also saw Constand’s mother as the driving force behind her decision to report the alleged assault to police a year after it occurred. “It was her mother who forced all this,” the panel member said.

He also said the jury did not let the allegations of the more than 60 women who have come forward to accuse Cosby of sexual misconduct influence its decision. He said he believed many of those women fabricated their claims.

“This is ridiculous, unbelievable,” he said. “I think more than half jumped on the bandwagon.”

Nor did he feel that he or others were influenced by outside information or by Cosby’s celebrity. The juror, one of the older members on the panel, said he used to watch The Cosby Show occasionally but was never an avid fan. During the trial, he said, he saw not a superstar but a tired old man.

“I think he was weathered,” he said. “I wondered if he was going to be able to make it through the whole trial the first couple of days, but he did.”

Jurors did not yell or argue during deliberations, he said, but the room was tense, once draped in prolonged silence.

“There may have been one 10-minute break of total silence, and then the question came up: Did the courthouse have a chapel?” he said.

There was no chapel, and deliberations continued. But in the end, he said, “the jury was stalled on everything.”

Cosby, 79, “has paid dearly” already for the allegations against him, the juror said, because his career has been destroyed. He said he did not think District Attorney Kevin R. Steele should pursue a retrial, as he has said he will do.

“They should’ve left it closed. … There wasn’t enough evidence to move the case forward,” he said, echoing Cosby’s lawyer’s arguments about the 2005 decision by then-District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. to close the case without charging Cosby.

Now, he said, there was nothing to consider beyond decade-old evidence. “No stained garment, no smoking gun, nothing,” the juror said.

The juror said most members of the jury exchanged contact information when it ended and voiced a desire to keep in touch. But he said he would not keep in contact with his peers. And he won’t pay attention if there is a second trial, he said.

“It would be a waste of Montgomery [County] money with the money it cost,” he said.

He said he and the other jurors were treated well during their stay in Norristown. Asked whether he enjoyed the experience, the juror said simply, “I’m glad I did my civic duty.”

Laura McCrystal, Jeremy Roebuck, Staff Writer

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