NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Jurors considering the fate of Bill Cosby at his sexual assault trial returned for a fifth day of deliberations on Friday, a day after telling the judge they were deadlocked on all charges.
Cosby was back at the courthouse outside Philadelphia as the panel of seven men and five women got to work. The judge told jurors on Thursday to continue deliberations in the hopes of breaking the impasse.
The 79-year-old entertainer is charged with three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault stemming from Andrea Constand’s allegations that he drugged and sexually violated her at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. A conviction could put Cosby in prison for the rest of his life.
Cosby’s lawyer said he and Constand were lovers sharing a consensual moment of intimacy.
Heading into Friday’s round of talks, the jury had deliberated for nearly 40 hours since getting the case Monday.
Cosby’s spokesman said Thursday the impasse showed that jurors doubted Constand’s story.
“They’re conflicted about the inconsistencies in Ms. Constand’s testimony,” spokesman Andrew Wyatt said. “And they’re hearing Mr. C.’s testimony, and he’s extremely truthful. And that’s created this doubt.”
Constand’s lawyer, Dolores Troiani, said only that the “jury is apparently working very hard.” The district attorney’s office declined to comment.
Dozens of women have come forward to say Cosby had drugged and assaulted them, but this was the only case to result in criminal charges.
Jurors who had appeared stressed and even angry leaving court on previous nights seemed more upbeat as they departed Thursday night, despite enduring another marathon session.
As the jurors left for the day, Judge Steven O’Neill heaped praise on them, thanking them for their dedication and the sacrifice they’ve made being 300 miles from home in the Pittsburgh area.
“I want to reiterate how proud I am of each and every one of you,” O’Neill said as he sent the sequestered jury back to the hotel. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything that you’ve done.”
The jury must come to a unanimous decision to convict or acquit. If the panel can’t break the deadlock, the judge could declare a hung jury and a mistrial. In that case, prosecutors would get four months to decide whether they want to retry the TV star or drop the charges.
The case has already helped demolish his image as America’s Dad, cultivated during his eight-year run as kindly Dr. Cliff Huxtable on the top-rated “The Cosby Show” in the 1980s and ’90s.
* The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.
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