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The jury in the civil trial of sexual misconduct allegations against actor and comedian Bill Cosby is due to begin deliberations after returning verdicts on nearly all of the questions put to them on Friday.
After two days of deliberations, the jury had reached a conclusion as to whether Cosby had sexually assaulted plaintiff Judy Huth in 1975 when she was just 16 years old at the Playboy Mansion and whether she deserved damages.
The jury answered eight of nine questions on their sentencing form: The final question was whether Cosby’s actions warranted punitive damages.
Judge Craig Karlan had promised a juror that she could go after Friday for a pre-commitment.
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The judge chose to read the verdict on the questions the jury answered despite objections from Cosby’s attorneys. However, Karlan had to reverse his decision when deputies from the Santa Monica Courthouse showed up and asked him to vacate the courtroom. The courthouse has to close at 4:30 p.m. as there is no budget for MPs overtime.
Karlan would not require the jury member who had to leave to return on Monday, so deliberations must begin again with another jury member in her place. “I will not break my word,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the judge was given a note about what he described as a “personality issue” between two of the jurors that was complicating their work.
The judge called the two jurors into the courtroom and had them agree that any juror could be heard in discussions. The jury resumed deliberation, but had several questions about issues with their sentencing form for the judge and attorneys to discuss and answer, including the calculation of damages.
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Cosby’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, filed a court hearing after lunch over a photograph taken by a member of Cosby’s team showing a juror standing next to one of the comedian’s accusers, who had been seated in the audience.
Artist Lily Bernard, who filed her own lawsuit against Cosby, said she did not speak to a jury.
“I’ve never spoken to a jury,” Bernard told the judge from her seat in the courtroom. “I would never do anything to jeopardize this case. I don’t even look at them.”
The jury began deliberations Thursday morning after a two-week trial. Cosby wasn’t in the courtroom.
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The 84-year-old was released from prison last year after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his 2018 criminal conviction. In a clip from a 2015 video testimony shown to the jury, Cosby denied having any sexual contact with Huth. His spokesman and attorney have each reiterated his denial throughout the trial.
Bonjean, in the closing arguments, asked the jury to dismiss public allegations against Cosby and consider only the evidence presented at the trial. She said the evidence didn’t prove Huth’s case.
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Huth’s attorney Nathan Goldberg told jurors Cosby should pay for the damage he caused his client.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.