Bill Cosby verdict reached in Judy Huth sexual abuse trial – Deadline

Bill Cosby could very soon know if a jury in California has found him guilty of sexual assault.

For the second time in less than a week, Santa Monica jurors, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Karlan, have announced they have reached a verdict in Judy Huth’s civil case against the man once known as “America’s Dad”. If everything goes according to plan, the decision will be read out in court within an hour.

Contrary to his criminal trials and the now released 2018 conviction for the rape of Andrea Constand in 2004, 84-year-old Cosby will not be sentenced to prison in the Huth case. However, the disgraced Cosby show the creator could end up paying millions in damages if today’s verdict goes against him.

Huth, who first sued Cosby in 2014 for sexual acts and two other claims, alleges the previously incarcerated comedian assaulted her in the Playboy Mansion in the mid-1970s when she was 16. In language similar to what Cosby and his team have used for years, a representative for the defendant said this month, when the much-delayed trial finally began, that “Mr. Cosby will be fully acquitted once the jurors have heard the evidence and the many inconsistent statements from Ms Huth.

“You have to decide what’s right,” Huth’s attorney Nathan Goldberg said in a sort of rebuttal to the jurors during closing arguments last week. “But please note that you must hold Mr. Cosby fully and fully responsible for the damage he has caused.”

Goldberg’s Allred, Maroko & Goldberg partner Gloria Allred has been in court every day of the trial and during jury deliberations.

At first, an emotional Huth identified the date of the alleged incident as being 1974 and more recently, the time shifts to 1975, and during her testimony, an emotional Huth gave vivid details about Cosby’s alleged assault. While an absent Cosby said he had never met Huth, and the actor’s legal team laughed at her for changing the year of the incident, Huth’s lawyers provided photos of Cosby and Huth together, taken by his friend Donna Samuelson. Faced with compelling testimony from both Huth and Samuelson, Cosby’s attorneys then argued that the meeting between Huth and their client had taken place years later, when Huth was no longer a minor.

Cosby’s lawyers also tried to trap Huth by claiming that she had sold the photos to tabloids and others for a large payout in the past.

Cosby himself did not testify at the trial. However, his videotaped statement from 2015 was played in court.

While her assault charge cannot be prosecuted as a criminal charge, Huth was able to sue Cosby under California law that restricts the statute of limitations if an accuser was abused as a minor and did not fully acknowledge what had happened until she had many older.

In that vein, the question of damages is, in part, what stumbled the jury and the proceedings on Friday, when it first appeared that a verdict was imminent.

After nearly two days of deliberation behind closed doors, the 12-member jury returned to the courtroom late in the afternoon to announce that they had reached a decision on eight of the nine questions on the verdict before them. Quite strongly indicating that the decision was against Cosby, the only question left unanswered by the jurors was whether the accused acted with “malice, oppression or fraud”, in which case Huth could be awarded punitive damages.

That’s where things got tricky and kind of unprecedented, both in a judicial and bottom-line way.

Since the beginning of the trial, Karlan has been well aware that one juror had to leave the proceedings because of a previous engagement from June 20. The judge had promised to respect that deadline, which meant that a deputy would sit next to the other 11 jurors as of Monday. It also meant that the new jury must ‘start from scratch’, in Karlan’s words.

In deliberations where the jury had already come back with plenty of questions for the judge and some personal friction between two jurors, the reset may not be quite the reboot as Karlan makes it out to be: In a civil case like this, the verdict doesn’t have to be unanimous. since only nine of the 12 jurors need to agree for the verdict to be binding. So while the newly incumbent judge may have needed a few strokes to get up to speed, things obviously went pretty quickly.

What made the closing minutes of Friday’s hearings of the trial all the more unusual was the fact that the partial verdict was handed down as the Santa Monica courthouse was about to close for the weekend. Though Karlan thought, overstated Cosby’s team’s concerns, and accepted the partial verdict, in the end, time and money were not on his side.

When he learned from a court official that it was nearly 4:30 p.m. PT, the judge risked spending expensive overtime for the sheriff’s officers manning the courthouse if he made the nearly-completed verdict. In the end, he kicked the verdict to this week. Some time earlier in the day, the jury paused to question Cosby’s potential malice and potential punitive damages.

Sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2018 by a Pennsylvania judge after a second trial for the rape of Constand, a former Temple University employee, Cosby saw his conviction overturned in June 2021. comedian and his revolving door of attorneys, four of the seven Keystone State judges ruled last summer that the announced decision by then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor not to prosecute Cosby in 2005, after he dismissed the original claim of Constand had investigated, had binding legal weight.

Cosby immediately loses his sex predator label and cannot be tried again on the same charges.

On March 7 of this year, the US Supreme Court declined to review the case, as requested by Montgomery DA Kevin Steele. That effectively ended the Constand case without new and remarkable circumstances.

More than 60 women have alleged that Cosby drugged and assaulted them over the past few decades with a similar combination of pills and alcohol as on Constand. Some of those women attended Cosby’s two criminal trials in the past month, the 2018 hearing and Huth’s trial.

Huth’s allegations are the first civil suit against Cosby for sexual offenses to go to trial.