The jury of Bill Cosby’s civil court must start the debate from the beginning

SANTA MONICA, California (AP) – After two days of deliberations on almost all of the questions asked, jurors in a political trial on sexual abuse charges against Bill Cosby will have to start from scratch. on Monday.

By the end of Friday, the Los Angeles County court had reached an agreement on whether Cosby had sexually assaulted plaintiff Judy Hoot at the Playboy Mansion when she was 16 in 1975, and whether Huth deserved compensation. . In all, they answered eight of the nine questions about their verdict, all but one asking if Cosby acted in a way that should require punitive damages.

Judge Craig Karlan, who had promised a juror when he agreed to serve that he could leave after Friday for a previous appointment, ruled on Cosby’s lawyers’ objections to accept and read the verdict on the questions he had answered. the jury. But he had to change course when deputies appeared at the Santa Monica Courthouse and asked him to clean the room. The courthouse has a mandatory closing time of 4:30 pm, because there is no budget for the overtime of the deputies.

Related video: Judy Huth takes part in the political trial of Bill Cosby

Karlan refused to ask the outgoing jury, who had been chosen as rapporteur, to return on Monday, so the jury will have to start again with a deputy in her place.

“I will not back down,” Karlan said.

It was a strange end to a strange day of jury discussions. It began with a note to the judge about what he called a “personality problem” between two of the jurors who made their work difficult.

After summoning them to the courtroom and making them agree that any juror would be heard in the hearings, the jurors continued, but had a steady stream of questions on issues in the form of their verdicts that the judge and lawyers had to discuss and answer. . One question was about how to calculate damages.

After the lunch break, Cosby’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, filed a lawsuit over a photo taken by a member of Cosby’s team that showed a juror standing next to a Cosby’s attorney sitting in the courtroom watching the trial.

Carlan said the photo did not show any conversation and he quickly rejected the injustice proposal, taking assurances from the jury after the entire court that no one had discussed the case with them.

Los Angeles artist Lily Bernard, who has filed her own lawsuit against Cosby in New Jersey, has denied speaking to jurors.

“I never spoke to any jurors,” Bernard told the judge from her seat in the courtroom. “I would never do anything to jeopardize this case. I do not even look at them. “

Carlan struggled to overcome obstacles and get jurors to discuss as much as possible, and kept lawyers, journalists, and courtroom staff in the courtroom ready to close as soon as a verdict was read, but in the end it was fruitless.

The jurors began arguing Thursday morning after a two-week trial.

Cosby, 84, who was released from prison when he was sentenced in Pennsylvania almost a year ago, did not attend. He denied any sexual contact with Huth in a clip from a 2015 video submitted to jurors. The refusal was repeated throughout the trial by his representative and his lawyer.

In the concluding arguments, Bonjean urged jurors to look into the public charges against Cosby and to look only at the evidence in the trial, which she said did not come close to proving Huth’s case.

Huth’s lawyer, Nathan Goldberg, told jurors that Cosby had to answer for the wrong he had done to his client.

The Associated Press usually does not name people who say they have been sexually abused unless they appear in public, as Hutt and Bernard have done.

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Follow AP Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

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