Bill Cosby Charged… Again
A California civil trial jury found Bill Cosby sexually abused a 16-year-old girl at Playboy Mansion in 1975 and awarded her $500,000.
The panel’s decision was read at about 3:30 p.m. local time after the jury had been deadlocked earlier in the afternoon.
Judy Huth, now 64, accused Cosby of forcing her to perform sex on him at the mansion when she was just 16 years old.
The Los Angeles trial had seemed to be wrapping up Friday with jurors having answered eight of nine questions presented to them.
But the judge had previously agreed to dismiss one of the jurors by June 17, so deliberations began all over with an alternate on Monday.
The reviled former icon once known as “America’s Dad” didn’t testify or appear in Los Angeles County Court during the trial but had denied sexual contact with Huth in a sworn deposition in 2015 that was played for jurors.
The decision caps off an often bizarre trial that included 10 days of testimony, fiery exchanges between attorneys for Hutch and Cosby and a failed effort by the actor’s legal team to have a mistrial declared.
The former star of “The Cosby Show” has been accused by multiple women of drugging and sexual assault, but Huth’s case is the first civil trial based on the allegations.
Cosby had been convicted in Pennsylvania criminal court for assaulting Andrea Constand, but he was released from prison last year when the state’s highest court ruled a deal with prosecutors meant he should’ve never faced criminal trial.
Hutch claimed in a lawsuit that Cosby had forced her into a bedroom in the Playboy Mansion, where he kissed her, shoved his hands down her pants and then used her hand to perform a sex act.
Testimony by Huth and a witness said the assault took place next to a game room where the witness had been playing the arcade game “Donkey Kong.” Cosby’s attorney seized on that, noting that “Donkey Kong” didn’t come out until 1981, six years after the alleged assault but Huth’s legal team countered that the testimony described “games like ‘Donkey Kong’” and didn’t specifically mean the game itself.
The argument had Cosby attorney Jennifer Bonjean and Huth’s lawyer Nathan Goldberg sniping in the courtroom. Bonjean also moved for a mistrial after a photo was taken of a juror standing near another Cosby accuser, LA artist Lily Bernard.
But Judge Craig Karlan said there was no evidence that the jury had discussed the case with anyone. The jurors and Bernard, who is suing Cosby in New Jersey, also denied any contact.
“I would never do anything to jeopardize this case,” Bernard told the judge in the Santa Monica courtroom. “I don’t even look at them.”
During closing arguments, Bonjean had urged jurors to only focus on evidence on the case amid the much-publicized accusations against Cosby.
“Can you imagine how hard it is to defend a case when you start with the label of sexual predator?” Bonjean said.
Goldberg said Cosby deserved accountability.
“Each of you knows in your heart that Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted Miss Huff,” he said.