[6/17/17] A mistrial has been declared today in Bill Cosby’s criminal trial for the 2004 rape of Andrea Constand. The decision has for now spared the once-beloved actor from a potential decade behind bars, and comes at the end of over 50 hours of deliberation by the jury in Norristown, PA, which first went to Judge Steven O’Neill on June 15 to say it was deadlocked – at that time he told them to “try again,” which they did for the past two days.
After just over an hour of deliberations on Saturday, the jurors informed the court that they were still “hopelessly deadlocked” on all the charges.
Not that this is all over for Cosby – at least not yet. Within minutes of the mistrial being declared, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office announced in court and online that they will retry the case.
The decision by O’Neill to end the legal purgatory could see D.A. Kevin Steele’s office seek an entirely new trial before the end of summer. Steele has four months to decide how he wants to pursue a new trial with a new jury for the current three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault or new ones. Earlier on June 16 in court, after a question from the jury, O’Neill made sure that Cosby understood he could be tried again if a mistrial was declared – the actor said he understood.
With that, D.A. Steele will likely want to find out what exactly led to the hung jury of seven men and five women. He also could decide that another kick at the case in the Philadelphia suburb could result in a similar outcome or even a not guilty verdict, and withdraw the charges.
Either way, today’s mistrial doesn’t come as a total surprise. After hours locked away debating the merits of the case, the wind was blowing in that direction earlier on June 15 after the jury announced that morning it was in judicial gridlock over the charges that Cosby allegedly raped the then-Temple University employee in January 2004.
Praising their efforts so far, O’Neill on Thursday used his power under what is known as the Spencer Charge in Pennsylvania to send the sequestered jurors back into deliberation in hopes they could reach a consensus. The jurors did go back for several more hours, but obviously to no avail in breaking their logjam. Later on June 15, lawyers for the prosecution and defense were called to O’Neill’s chambers before the jury was released for the day to return this morning at 9 AM ET to start deliberations again.