What happens now that Bill Cosby’s sexual-assault case has been declared a mistrial

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Early this month, Bill Cosby went on trial on sexual-assault charges involving Andrea Constand, alleged to have happened more than a decade ago.

After five days of deliberation, the jury couldn’t reach a unanimous decision and the judge declared a mistrial.

Constand, a former Temple University employee, told police that the now 79-year-old comedian drugged and violated her at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

It’s the first criminal case against Cosby over his conduct with women. Over the past few years, over 60 women have accused him of sexual assault.

Here are the major developments during the trial, and what could happen next after the mistrial:


The juror selection process took days.

Ultimately, seven men and five women were selected. According to Philly.com, more than a third of the 100 potential jurors said that they had already decided whether Cosby was innocent or guilty.


Day 1: One of Cosby’s many accusers took the stand.

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She worked as Cosby’s former agent’s assistant. She described in detail how Cosby had allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted her at a Los Angeles hotel 20 years ago.

Besides Constand, she was the only accuser out of more than 60 women who was permitted to testify at the trial.

Source: Philly.com


Day 2: Andrea Constand took the stand and spoke about her alleged assault for the first time in public.

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Her testimony took three hours. Constand went to police about a year after she says Cosby assaulted her, but at the time a prosecutor said her case was too weak for any charges.

Source: Philly.com


Day 4: The prosecution read Cosby’s 2005 deposition describing the night Constand says he drugged and assaulted her.

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Source: Philly.com


Day 5: The prosecution ended its arguments with Cosby’s admission that he used to get Quaaludes, a sedative, for his sexual encounters with women.

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“Ladies and gentlemen, he has told you what he has done,” District Attorney Kevin Steele said. “It is about as straightforward as you are ever going to see in a sex crimes case. If you have sexual relations with somebody when they’re out, when they’re asleep, when they’re unconscious, that is a crime.”


Day 6: The defense argued its case, and only called one witness.

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The defense began its case by urging the jury to view Cosby as an ordinary citizen, not a celebrity. Its one witness was a Cheltenham County detective.

The defense pointed out inconsistencies in Johnson’s story and Constand’s story, and closed its case on the same day it started. Then the jury deliberated for four hours.


Day 7-8: The jury continued deliberations, and asked to take a second look at some evidence.

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The jury had a lot of questions during deliberation. Jurors asked to hear again the part in Cosby’s deposition in which he referred to the pills he gave to Constand as his “friends.”

The jury also wanted a definition for the phrase “without her knowledge.” It also asked Judge Steven O’Neill to define “beyond a reasonable doubt” for the jurors.


Day 9: When the jurors told Judge O’Neill that they were at a standstill, he encouraged them to keep trying.

“While you should not hesitate to reexamine your own views or change your opinion if your opinion is erroneous, do not feel compelled to surrender your honest belief,” he told the jury. “If after further deliberations, you are still deadlocked on some or all the charges, you should report that to me.”

Source: Philly.com


Day 11: After five days (and 52 hours) of deliberation, Judge O’Neill called a mistrial.

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The jurors said they were “hopelessly deadlocked.”

A mistrial means that at least one juror had reasonable doubt about Constand’s story, and believes Cosby is innocent.

Source: Philly.com


The jurors spent a longer time debating the charges than the duration of the trial itself.

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O.J. Simpson’s murder trial lasted 11 months, and the jury deliberated for less than four hours.


Cosby was not found guilty, but he wasn’t acquitted.

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“Without a doubt, a mistrial is a good development for Cosby, but he still has to face another trial,” Stuart Slotnick, a New York criminal defense attorney, said. “It is not time for Cosby to pop the champagne, but a mistrial makes the prosecutor’s case harder to prosecute.”

Source: CNBC


How did a mistrial happen?

Most likely, time.

“It’s almost inevitably due to the inconsistencies in the victim’s statement about times and places, as well as the 12-year delay in bringing the case, all of which can raise reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury,” Dennis McAndrews, a former Pennsylvania prosecutor, told CNBC.


How can a mistrial affect the case going forward?

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Significantly, especially for the prosecution.

“It may change the approach of the prosecution or the defense if it is revealed that the vote was 11 to 1 in either direction,” Slotnick said. “A fairly even split between the jurors means that there were significant doubts.”

Source: CNBC


Prosecutor Kevin Steele says he intends to retry the case — and soon.

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“Our plan is to move this case forward as soon as possible,” Steele said. “One of the challenges that we face in this type of case is the time period that has gone. But it doesn’t affect the evidence. And I hope, if you sat through the court proceedings, you saw how powerful that evidence is.”

Source: CNBC