Bill Cosby Mistrial: Hollywood Reporter Legal Experts Debate How It Happened and What’s Next

After 5 days of deliberation, a Pennslyvania jury tasked with determining possibly Bill Cosby is guilty of intimately assaulting ex-Temple University worker Andrea Constand in 2004 announced currently it was “hopelessly deadlocked” and could not strech a verdict. Following Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill’s preference to decare a mistrial (and prosecutors’ vouch to retry Cosby), The Hollywood Reporter convened a contingent of authorised experts to discuss a outcome and a subsequent steps. Editorial executive Matthew Belloni, who once used party law, exchanged emails with comparison editor Eriq Gardner, who writes and edits a publication’s authorised blog THR, Esq. with staff contributor Ashley Cullins. An edited chronicle of their exchange, in that they try what led to this outcome and what competence change if prosecutors follow by on their guarantee to re-try a case, is below….


GARDNER Are possibly of we surprised? Can’t contend we am. It’s always scarcely unfit to envision what a dozen jurors are going to decide. we suspicion it was a bit peculiar that in a consult we took a integrate months ago of tip party lawyers, about 80 percent suspicion Cosby would be convicted. Take divided a dozens of other accusers, concentration usually on a dual stories of purported attack that were authorised to be discussed in justice (Constad and a former William Morris partner who testified as “prior bad act” evidence), and what we’re traffic with is a jury contention of credit and consent. Interviews with a jurors about what happened during deliberations are going to be fascinating. we also see that a DA skeleton to re-try a case. we have doubts possibly this will happen. What do we think?

BELLONI They can’t NOT retry him, we don’t think. There would be substantial outrage. I’m indeed some-more astounded than we during a mistrial. Even yet jurors are educated to cruise usually a justification presented, they contingency have been wakeful of a volume of accusations opposite Cosby. They were everywhere.

GARDNER we cruise this is a form of box that’s unequivocally tough for prosecutors. The best justification for this is a fact that a before DA in Montgomery County chose not to assign Cosby. When a box comes down to a magnitude of credit (or definitions of consent, as a unequivocally good mainstay a other day in Above a Law put it), there’s a clever intensity for non-consensus of judgment. Sure, a jurors competence have famous about a other allegations opposite Cosby, though maybe they DID conform a judge’s instructions. we was taken by a fact that of all a things a jurors asked to examination during their days of deliberation, they never wanted to hear again a testimony of Kelly Johnson, a former William Morris staffer whose allegations were authorised into evidence. Will a outcome unequivocally be opposite if this is attempted again? Doesn’t a mistrial concede a prosecutor to save face by observant he gave it a good shot? How many income do we cruise it costs taxpayers to go to hearing opposite Cosby? I’m certain no one cares, though a mistrial does also potentially equivocate what would have been a rather downright (if interesting) appeal.

CULLINS If they do re-try it, do we cruise Cosby’s group would change plan during all? we was flattering repelled that they presented their box in element in reduction than 10 mins — seemed like they suspicion they had an exculpation in a bag.

GARDNER we cruise what Cosby’s group does depends a small on what prosecutors do. Here’s an engaging thought: What if prosecutors change tactics? Let’s say, instead of going loyal to a re-trial, prosecutors try to interest a judge’s preference not to concede some-more Cosby rape accusers to testify. Perhaps if prosecutors were authorised to have 13 women testify, as they creatively wanted, they would have won a case. As for Cosby’s authorised team, we cruise they are ideally gratified by a hung jury outcome. Maybe not utterly as good in their eyes as an acquittal, though a ultimate idea has to be to keep their customer out of jail.

BELLONI Right. He’s 79 and not in good health. Every day avoiding a outcome is a good one. Eriq, we wrote a great piece before a hearing surveying a invulnerability strategy. What do we cruise was effective?

GARDNER The Cosby group talked a large diversion about rehabilitating his image, but, from a authorised perspective, we overtly trust that a biggest thing they did was to extent a series of other accusers authorised to testify. The many critical eventuality during hearing didn’t indeed occur during trial. It occurred in Feb when a decider released so many evidence. Although that impulse where Cosby complacent a invulnerability box after usually a few mins of testimony was positively implausible — a kind where we think, “Wow, it doesn’t usually occur on TV!”

BELLONI Yeah, when we saw that, we suspicion “Those lawyers contingency be unequivocally unequivocally assured or meditative they’re totally screwed.” Gloria Allred is blaming a “blinding energy of celebrity” for a mistrial. How many do we cruise Cosby’s luminary played a role?

GARDNER Celebrity really played some factor, nonetheless not entirely in Cosby’s favor. For instance, it’s utterly surprising for a prosecutor to record passionate attack charges 12 years after a military investigation. Were it not for Cosby’s luminary — or calumny after all a accusers came brazen — that would never have happened. On a other hand, of march he (like many celebrities) had improved resources to urge allegations opposite him, and it positively competence be loyal that some shred of a race still thinks of him as Dr. Cliff Huxtable. What do we dual think?

BELLONI we still trust celebrities get a advantage of a doubt from juries, that in a box like this could have been adequate for a mistrial. It’s usually a doubt of how many of a media coverage of a accusations done it to these jurors. By a time of this trial, Cosby wasn’t like many celebrities. Because of a volume of claims, he’d turn a pariah.

CULLINS we agree. I’d disagree that Cosby’s luminary would have weighed heavily in his preference if this had been attempted a decade ago. But prosecutors had a advantage of years of people boring a comedian and his repute by a sand as a clearly unconstrained line of women came brazen accusing him of varying levels of assault. The government of stipulations exists for a reason; memories fade, justification is lost, and we cruise if Cosby hadn’t turn a renegade a charge would have faced a many aloft bar in perplexing to infer a box over a reasonable doubt.

GARDNER Do we cruise it’s satisfactory that Cosby faced a rapist hearing from usually one woman? we suspect that’s a doubt about a knowledge of a government of limitations. The normal justification for carrying such a time order is refuge of memories and evidence. Though we consternation possibly a improved justification is to inspire victims to come brazen earlier rather than after so as to get sequence rapists off a street. Then again, government of stipulations didn’t outcome in any charge opposite Cosby until this month.

BELLONI I’m certain there are copiousness of accusers who trust they should have their day in justice too. But regardless of a rapist outcome, polite cases eventually will pierce forward. Cosby isn’t irreproachable in any approach here, notwithstanding his publicist claiming his “power is back.” 

CULLINS One of a engaging things about a impact of this hearing on a polite matters is a Cosbys’ new honesty to a media. He wished people Happy Father’s Day outward of court, as one example. His mother released a long, indignant matter in response to a mistrial, as another. Until a trial, they had both been probably silent. It roughly seems as if there was a accordant bid to remind people that, notwithstanding being famous and a allegations during hand, they’re genuine people with a genuine family. It will be engaging to see if this change in broadside tactic carries over to a polite cases.

GARDNER Let’s remember that distinct in a rapist trial, he’ll be forced to attest in a polite cases. In fact, this could be a good reason for prosecutors not to re-try him since as prolonged as they do, a polite cases are paused. And Cosby isn’t removing any younger.

CULLINS How many will Andrea Constand’s wishes play into a prosecution’s decisions relocating forward? If she says “I had my day in court. Let a other women who are suing have a shot,” would they listen?

GARDNER I gamble prosecutors would follow Constand’s wishes. They competence even be personally relieved if she asked not to try him again.

BELLONI I’m betting they asked her before they announced currently they would retry him. So this thing is distant from over.  


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