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Cosby gets legal respite as judge declares mistrial

NORRISTOWN (Pennsylvania)

A Pennsylvania judge on Saturday declared a mistrial in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault case after the jury said it could not reach a verdict, but prosecutors said they would retry Cosby and he still faces a slew of civil lawsuits.

About 60 women have accused Cosby of sexually assaulting them, effectively ending the long career of the entertainer once known as “America’s dad” for his role in the 1980s television hit ‘The Cosby Show’. The case was the only one to result in a criminal trial, largely because the other accusations were too old to prosecute.

The jurors, who spent 53 hours debating whether Cosby was guilty or innocent, told Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven O’Neill they could not reach unanimous verdicts on whether Cosby was guilty of three counts of aggressive indecent assault against college administrator Andrea Constand at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

Saturday’s result was a victory for the comedian, who avoided up to a decade in prison. “This is what happens, juries are stuck when a prosecutor seeks to put someone in prison for things that are simply not presented in the courtroom,” said Angela Agrusa, one of Cosby’s lawyers, after the mistrial was declared.

While Agrusa spoke outside the courtroom, Cosby stood silently behind her, surrounded by his supporters, his head tilted back, looking toward the sky.

“Historically people have challenged injustices,” said Cosby’s wife Camille in a statement read by a spokeswoman. “I am grateful to any of the jurors who tenaciously fought to review the evidence, which is the rightful way to make a sound decision.”

The statement also sharply criticised the judge and prosecutors for pursuing the case.

“How do I describe the district attorney? Heinously and exploitively ambitious,” it said. “How do I describe the judge? Overtly arrogant and collaborating with the district attorney.”

The mistrial was a blow to the dozens of women who have said they were sexually assaulted by Cosby.

Agencies