Cosby trial jurors deadlocked after 30 hours

Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby. Photo credit: Getty

The jurors in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial are deadlocked after more than 30 hours of deliberations, but the trial judge is ordering them to resume their discussions.

"We cannot come to a unanimous consensus on any of the counts," the jury said in a note to Judge Steven O'Neill in Norristown, Pennsylvania on Thursday.

Jurors began discussing the three counts of aggravated indecent assault late on Monday and worked 12-hour days on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

In response, Judge O'Neill gave a standard instruction that the jurors should continue trying to reach a verdict without compromising any of their individual beliefs.

As reporters streamed out of the courtroom, poet and author Jewel Allison - one of the dozens of women who have accused Cosby of assaulting them - burst into tears.

Several of the accusers have been in court all week awaiting a verdict, including the woman at the centre of the trial, Andrea Ms Constand.

Cosby, the 79-year-old entertainer once beloved for his brand of family-friendly comedy, is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Ms Constand, then 31, at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

Ms Constand and other accusers say Cosby, the star of the 1980s hit TV comedy The Cosby Show, often plied them with pills and alcohol before assaulting them, in a series of incidents over four decades.

Ms Constand's allegations are the only ones to result in criminal charges, with many of the others too old to allow for prosecution. Cosby has denied every claim, saying his encounters with Ms Ms Constand and others were consensual.

A hung jury would be a clear victory for Cosby, who would avoid what could have been years in prison. Prosecutors would have the option of seeking a retrial if the jury cannot reach a verdict.

On hearing of the jury's note, his lawyers moved for a mistrial. But Judge O'Neill denied that request as premature.

Cosby's spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, told reporters outside the courthouse that the jurors understand "the facts of this case don't add up".

But Gloria Allred, a high-profile lawyer who represents more than 30 Cosby accusers, said the jury's note was not vindication for the entertainer.

"It's not over until it's over, and it's not over yet," she said.

The jurors have spent days wrestling with which version of the night in question was accurate: Ms Constand's or Cosby's. They have spent days asking to have testimony read back, including Ms Constand's trial testimony as well as the first report she made to police in 2005.

The jury also revisited Cosby's description of the night from sworn depositions he gave in 2005 and 2006 during a civil lawsuit by Ms Constand and a police interview he conducted in 2005. Cosby did not testify.

Reuters