Jury deliberations end for the day in Bill Cosby retrial

A jury of seven men and five women began deliberating Bill Cosby’s fate in his sexual-assault retrial Wednesday.

“You’re going to do justice in the case of Commonwealth v. William H. Cosby,” Judge Steven T. O’Neill told the jurors after instructing them on the charges against the entertainer.

O’Neill sent the jurors to a deliberation room just after 11 a.m. to determine whether Cosby is guilty of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand in 2004 at his Cheltenham home.

By the time they went back to their hotel for the night after 10 hours of work, the jurors had asked several questions of the judge.

The first, less than two hours into deliberations: “What is the legal definition of consent?”

O’Neill told the jurors that he could not answer that question and that they must “decide what that means to them” if it is not defined in the written charges against Cosby.

Jurors also asked to listen again to Cosby’s own words in a deposition from Constand’s civil lawsuit against him, in which he described the encounter with Constand and spoke about obtaining Quaaludes with the intention of giving them to women he hoped to seduce. A detective had read the deposition testimony at trial.

Later, jurors asked to rehear the full testimony of Marguerite Jackson, the defense team’s star witness, who testified at trial that Constand told her she planned to fabricate sexual-assault allegations against a celebrity to make money. Prosecutors had sought to discredit Jackson by suggesting she had changed her statements over time; jurors also asked to review the statements Jackson gave to private investigators, but O’Neill told them they could not. They will hear Jackson’s testimony Thursday morning.

The jurors, selected from Montgomery County, have been sequestered since the start of the trial. They heard 12 days of arguments and testimony from more than two dozen witnesses – including Constand and five other women who say that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them.

In closing arguments Tuesday, Cosby’s lawyers attacked his accusers and portrayed Constand as a con artist who plotted to fabricate allegations against Cosby to make money. Prosecutors said that such attacks are a reason why victims often do not report sex crimes, and described Cosby as a predator who made a habit of using his fame to gain women’s trust before drugging and molesting them.

Wednesday marked the second time in less than a year that Cosby’s case has been placed in the hands of a jury; a panel from Allegheny County spent 52 hours deliberating last June before declaring it was deadlocked. After the case ended in mistrial, one juror said he was convinced of Cosby’s guilt, and another said that he did not believe Constand’s testimony.

O’Neill instructed jurors Wednesday that they must not consider the first trial or its outcome — which Cosby’s lawyers had mentioned in their closing arguments.

“You may have heard questions or reference to a prior trial in this case,” he said. “Any reference or mention is simply not evidence in this case, and you may not consider it as such in your deliberations.”

Constand, who was in the courtroom for prosecutors’ closing arguments Tuesday afternoon, tweeted a photo Wednesday morning of a statue of “Lady Justice” — a woman holding a scale.

Later, she tweeted a video of herself skydiving: She said she went Tuesday to iFLY, an indoor facility in nearby King of Prussia.

Cosby, 80, leaned back in his chair as O’Neill spent more than an hour reading instructions to the jury Wednesday morning. He took a nap in the courthouse as the jury deliberated Wednesday afternoon, according to his publicist Andrew Wyatt.

As deliberations stretched into the evening, Wyatt stood outside the courthouse and addressed reporters.

“We know they’re going to get it right,” he said of the jurors. “We have faith in God they’re going to get it right.”

Cosby is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

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