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After 16 hours, Cosby jury breaks with no verdict

Laura McCrystal, Jeremy Roebuck, Staff Writer

Updated: Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 9:57 PM

Bill Cosby enters the courtroom for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., on Tuesday.

The jury in Bill Cosby’s sexual-assault trial spent more than 12 hours Tuesday cloistered in the Montgomery County Courthouse for a second day of deliberations but failed to reach a verdict.

As a growing crowd of reporters and onlookers set up camp outside in sweltering conditions, the panel of seven men and five women inside seemed to be wrestling with its decision. Several times, jurors returned to the courtroom with requests to review past testimony from Cosby and others.

Shortly before 9:30 p.m., Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill granted their request to break and reconvene Wednesday. “They just said: ‘We’re wasted for the night. We need to get rest,’ ” the judge explained to a packed courtroom before the jurors came in.

But the jurors gave no clues about how long they planned to keep talking — or what obstacles remained.

Cosby spent most of the day secluded in a guarded courthouse hallway, emerging briefly each time he was summoned back to the courtroom. His accuser, Andrea Constand, also returned for each jury question, but otherwise largely stayed out of sight, as did prosecutors.

The few questions came amid a day of tedium in Norristown interrupted by frenzied flashes of activity. Perhaps none matched the moment just after noon when Cosby’s spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, emerged from the courthouse, gathered the media throng, and publicly asserted that the trial had been rigged.

“This court has not given [Cosby] a fair and impartial trial,” declared Wyatt, who has been at Cosby’s side for much of the weeklong proceeding. “That’s all we were looking for. Just a fair shot.”

Despite qualifying that the 79-year-old entertainer still had confidence in the jury and remained hopeful about its decision, the spokesman made clear his assertion would be part of an appeal if Cosby is convicted of drugging and assaulting Constand in 2004.

His primary complaint? O’Neill’s decision Monday to bar the defense from calling what would have been one of its only witnesses, a Temple University academic adviser who said that Constand once described how she could frame “a high-profile” person on accusations that he had sexually assaulted her.

According to an affidavit Wyatt read aloud, Marguerite Jackson said she had been in Rhode Island during a Temple University women’s basketball team trip years ago when Constand served as team operations director. Both women were together when a television news report aired about a suspect accused of drugging and sexually assaulting women, she alleged.

Constand then remarked that a “high-profile” person had done “something similar” to her, Jackson said. Jackson said she told Constand she should have reported it.

“Her response was that it had not happened but she could say it happened and file charges, file a civil suit, get the money, go to school, and open up a business,” Jackson said in the statement. “Andrea and I never discussed the matter again. It was about a year later that Andrea left Temple.”

In her statement, Jackson said that when she heard about Constand’s allegations, “I wasn’t shocked since this was exactly what Andrea said she could do — and so she did it.”

The release of her statement came a day after the trial judge rejected attempts by the defense to call Jackson to the stand, ruling her testimony to be inadmissible hearsay. Prosecutors declined to comment on Wyatt’s claim.

During cross-examination last week, Constand had been asked if she knew Jackson. She said she did not remember her.

On Tuesday, her lawyer called Jackson’s account a complete fabrication and lashed out at the defense’s attempt to spread it.

“This is absolutely not true,” attorney Dolores Troiani said. “The slander doesn’t stop.”

Jackson, reached at her Temple office Tuesday afternoon, said she was busy at work but would speak with a reporter later. She did not return calls later.

The disclosure about her allegation came after the jurors returned to the courtroom around 11:30 a.m. — about six hours into their deliberations — with their third question since attorneys’ closing arguments Monday.

Later in the afternoon, the panel also sought a rereading of trial testimony from the Canadian police officer who took Constand’s first statement to law enforcement in 2005.

Jurors also asked to review several pieces of sworn testimony from Cosby presented during the trial and had earlier asked the judge to define for them the meaning of “without her knowledge,” one of the elements of the aggravated indecent-assault charge against the defendant.

O’Neill reread past statements from Cosby, including his descriptions of how he met Constand, his romantic intentions toward her, past sexual encounters he said he had with her, and his own recollection of the 2004 night she says he drugged and assaulted her.

“I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything,” Cosby had testified about an early alleged liaison with Constand, in an excerpt read to jurors Tuesday. “So I continue, and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped.”

Constand sat in the courtroom gallery’s front row throughout the reading, her face set without expression and her eyes locked on the jury seated in front of her — a sharp contrast from the beaming smile and warm hug she offered Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden upon her arrival in the courtroom earlier in the day.

Prosecutors have portrayed Constand, 44, as a brave victim seeking justice, while Cosby’s lawyers maintain she is a former lover who fabricated her account of the alleged assault in a bid to extort him for money. Cosby faces up to 10 years on each of the three counts.

Staff writers Michaelle Bond and Aubrey Whelan contributed to this report.

Follow every development in Bill Cosby’s case with our day-by-day recaps and explainer on everything you need to know about the case and its major players.

Laura McCrystal, Jeremy Roebuck, Staff Writer

Read full story: After 16 hours, Cosby jury breaks with no verdict

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