NORRISTOWN, Pa.—On the fifth day of deliberations, the Bill Cosby criminal trial jurors started with a familiar update: They had a question. The jurors, who will decide if Cosby is guilty or not of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, have so far asks to rehear multiple pieces of evidence and twice had questions related to the law while deliberating for more than 41 hours.
Here’s a quick run down of their nine notes sent to Judge Steven T. O’Neill:
- Monday: On the day deliberations started, they asked for the full context of the quote, “Put them down, they are your friends,” from when Andrea Constand said Cosby offered her the pills that made her unconscious. O’Neill read aloud the passage to them containing that quote.
- Tuesday: They asked to rehear part of Cosby’s unsealed deposition from Constand’s civil lawsuit. The portions they wanted to hear had to do with how he met Constand and his version of what happened that night. They also asked for a definition of “without her knowledge.” (The third count Cosby is facing contains the phrase “without the knowledge of the complainant.”) Closer to the end of the day, they reheard the testimony and cross examination from the Canadian law enforcement officer who took the first police report from Constand.
- Wednesday: They reheard Constand’s court testimony from the night she says Cosby sexually assaulted her. They also reheard the testimony of Cheltenham Sgt. Richard Schaffer about his interview with Cosby during the first police investigation.
- Thursday: They first reported that they were deadlocked. The full note sent to O’Neill said: “We cannot come to a unanimous consensus on any of the counts.” The judge read to them Pennsylvania Standard Jury Instruction 2.09, as a way of encouraging them to reach a verdict, then sent them back to keep trying.
- Friday: They asked to rehear the unsealed Cosby deposition and to get a definition of “reasonable doubt.” The full deposition wasn’t entered into evidence because only portions were individually allowed by the court. The piecemeal way it was done was why O’Neill told the jurors that they needed to clarify which parts they wanted to rehear. They came back and said they wanted to rehear the section in which Cosby talked about all his prescriptions for Quaaludes and how he gave the drugs to women he wanted to have sex with. O’Neill read the definition of “reasonable doubt” to them.
The natural follow up is: what does all this mean? Nobody knows. Every local courthouse has its twist on a phrase about what happens to jurors when it’s late and everyone wants to go home; in Montgomery County, it’s “Friday night guilty.” I heard a few people chattering that phrase in the courthouse hallways today. But it’s just that, chatter. Nobody knows what’s happening except the jurors, and there’s nothing the rest of us can do except wait.
Update (1:11 p.m.): Before their Friday lunch break, the jurors had two more questions. They want to rehear Gianna Constand’s testimony about her first phone call with Cosby. Their second question had two parts. They want to hear Andrea Constand’s testimony pertaining to her phone records and also see the phone records. O’Neill said they would work on getting that for them during the lunch break.
Update (4:09 p.m.): The jury has asked to rehear the part of Gianna Constand’s testimony where she said, “I didn’t even know about it.” They also would like to her a few questions beforehand so they can get the full context. It was not read back after the judge suggested they rely on their recollection.
Update (9:04 p.m.): Jurors sent a note asking to hear the testimony of Stuart Parsons. Parsons is a Toronto police officer and Andrea Constand’s bother in law. He testified about the advice he gave the family after hearing what had happened. His advice was to call the police and get a lawyer. Jurors heard that testimony, including the cross examination, and then went back to deliberate briefly before calling it a night.
As happens with these requests, defense lawyer Brian McMonagle again asked for a mistrial. Just like this morning, Judge Steven T. O’Neill pushed back, although he added he would consider the motion. O’Neill reacted sharply to McMonagle’s suggestion that the case was “simplistic” and the jury should be done by now. He also wondered aloud why McMonagle pushed so hard for a mistrial, and openly questioned if the defense lawyer knew something he didn’t about deliberations.
“This jury,” O’Neill said, “is incredible important.”