Cosby Trial Juror Says Jury Leaned Heavily Toward Conviction on Two Counts

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

A juror in the Bill Cosby criminal trial, who spoke to ABC News on the condition of anonymity, claimed that 10 of 12 jurors believed Cosby was guilty on two counts, while on a third count only one juror believed he was guilty.

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On Saturday, a mistrial was declared in Cosby’s sexual assault trial. There were only two holdouts against finding Cosby guilty of having digitally penetrated Andrea Constand without her consent and of a second count that he’d assaulted Constand after giving her drugs without her knowledge, which impaired her ability to resist the attack. On a third count—that Constand was unconscious and unaware of the assault—the jurors overwhelmingly moved to acquit.

The juror told ABC in an interview published on Wednesday that the two people who didn’t agree with the others’ guilty verdict were, “not moving, no matter what,” and that “there was no budging,” once the jury had reached its first deadlock, though deliberations continued for 22 hours (the total deliberation took 52 hours and spanned six days).

 

The juror also affirmed that the accusations of dozens of other women against Cosby were not allowed to be factored into the jury’s decision. “We never brought anything outside in,” the juror told ABC. “Never. Not once. If somebody wold mention something, we would cut them off.”

On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that juror’s names would be made public to the media but placed considerable limitations on what the jurors would be allowed to discuss about the trial (Judge Steven T. O’Neil notified the jurors of what they could not say before the names were released).

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The Times reported that O’Neil wrote in his ruling:

“Any disclosure of what was said and done during deliberations in this case would have a chilling effect upon the future jurors in this case and their ability to deliberate freely and to feel secure in the protection of their privacy during their sworn jury service. Further, future jurors will be reluctant to speak up to say what they think when deliberating if they fear that what they say during deliberations will not be kept secret.”

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Several legal experts told the Times that placing restraints on what jurors can say post-trial is pretty rare, but this is, of course, a highly publicized case already and jurors are generally expected to keep the conversations that take place in a jury room private.

contributing writer, nights

DISCUSSION

curioussquid
Curious Squid

Sometimes I really find it hard not to think that in sexual assault cases if an accused decides to plead not guilty and take the case to trial, they should be required to testify. None of this “no case to answer” bullshit. Your lawyer gets to cross-examine the complainant? That’s cool, the prosecution get to cross-examine you too.

“Person A said / Person B said” sexual assault cases are pretty much the only kind of trial where a finding of not guilty of the accused is basically a finding that no crime was even committed in the first place. In a trial for murder, robbery, arson, etc., it’s usually not in dispute that someone is actually dead, a convenience store was held up, a building was burned down; it’s whether the accused is the person who did it or whether it was a different set of circumstances that led to someone being stabbed to death, a store clerk having a gun held in their face until they opened the till, or a house was destroyed by fire. But in an “A said/B said” rape trial, a finding of not guilty for the accused is essentially a finding that a rape didn’t even occur at all and the complainant is confused at best, a deliberate liar at worst.

Obviously I’m aware that yes, this is kind of a “burn the legal system to the ground” stance here and wouldn’t work. But if in rape cases if the accused was required to testify and be cross-examined, or even - and this is an even more nuclear option - the burden of proof in rape cases lay on the defence instead of the prosecution, and everybody in the community knew this? I think there would be fewer rapes. Maybe not a whole heap less, but a few.

And if your visceral response to the concept of the burden of proof in rape trials lying on the defence is “But that’s not fair - how can an accused possibly prove their innocence beyond reasonable doubt, nobody would ever be acquitted?” that’s kind of my point. Look how difficult it is to prosecute A said/B said rapes successfully just because the onus of proof always lies on the prosecution. I’m not saying one way is better than the other, they’re both equally fucked.

Obviously I know this is not really the answer and would never work. But it’s hard not to think sometimes about how rape trials might sometimes have different outcomes if an accused who decides not to plead guilty is actually required to testify.