The Bill Cosby sexual assault trial which captivated the attention of America for over a year came to a disappointing and anticlimactic end on Saturday. That’s when Judge Steven O’Neill, who presided over the heated trial, announced that the jurors (seven men and five women) had been unable to reach a unanimous verdict. After months of preparation and over a week of testimony, the Bill Cosby trial ended in a mistrial.
Days later, and little is known about what went on behind closed doors. While Pennsylvania law allows for the identities of jurors to be made public, that hasn’t yet happened in this case. Judges in the state also have some discretion when it comes to keeping those identities a secret in certain conditions. At this point, it is unknown whether or not Judge O’Neill will protect the jurors’ identities or not. He did, however, advise them that speaking publicly about the case could cause problems in the case of a new trial, which prosecutors have vowed is coming.
“It can never be clearer that if you speak up, you could be chilling the justice system in the future if jurors are needed in this case.”
It is also unknown how close the jury may have come to reaching a unanimous decision in the Bill Cosby case. The group of 12 was sent back to continue deliberating twice after informing the judge that they were hung.
While the world doesn’t know, and may never know, how close the jurors in the Bill Cosby trial came to reaching a verdict, one alternate juror broke his silence on Monday. As Fox News reports, jury alternate Mike McCloskey told the local media that he felt “ridiculously sick” about the lack of verdict in the case.
What’s more, he claims that he “probably” would have voted to convict 79-year-old Bill Cosby for the sexual assault-related felonies he was standing trial for. If he had been convicted, Cosby would have faced up to 10 years in prison on each charge and likely would have spent the rest of his life in prison.
Bill Cosby mistrial: Alternate juror slams result https://t.co/PbjfAP7hkV
— Australian World (@eraap1q27) June 19, 2017
Mike McCloskey wasn’t privy to the Cosby jury’s deliberations, but he did hear all of the testimony in the case against the former star of The Cosby Show, including testimony from two women who accused the comedian of nearly identical instances of drugging and sexual assault that allegedly happened years apart and on opposite sides of the nation.
According to McCloskey, who posted a photo of his juror badge on Facebook to prove his connection to the Cosby trial, members of the Cosby jury spent the bus ride after the trial in “complete silence,” refusing to discuss the case or the 52 hours of deliberations that ultimately came to nothing.
“It was the craziest, eeriest bus ride I’ve ever taken.”
who cares what an alternate would've done?
— The Brown Beat (@TheBrownTiger) June 19, 2017
— Maximiliano Valdes (@maxvaldes) June 19, 2017
While Bill Cosby celebrated Saturday’s mistrial in the sexual assault trial involving former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, prosecutors are not ready to let the matter drop and have vowed a second trial. Because they fully intend to attempt to re-prosecute Cosby, prosecutors are fighting tooth and nail to keep the identities of the jurors in the first trial hidden.
The jurors for the first trial were already difficult to find and choose from a pool in Pittsburgh rather than Philadelphia where the alleged sexual assault took place and the trial was held. According to the prosecution, if the jurors’ names are made public, they will be subjected to a “publicity onslaught,” and picking a second jury will become well nigh impossible.
An alternate juror in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault case said he “probably” would have voted to convict https://t.co/reAYpdk74I
— AP Eastern U.S. (@APEastRegion) June 19, 2017
Even so, members of the media have called on the judge to release the names of the Cosby trial jurors, arguing that “confirming that the outcome of the first trial was the result of an impartial process” is in the best interest of the public.
In recent years, at least 60 women have accused Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them. The timeline of the alleged assaults stretches back decades, and of all of Cosby’s dozens of accusers, only Andrea Constand’s accusations have resulted in criminal charges against the aging comic. Cosby has vehemently argued against the allegations against him, claiming that any sexual contact he had with any of his accusers was consensual.
If prosecutors do stand by their vow to try Bill Cosby a second time, it is possible that they will try to persuade the judge to allow more accusers to take the stand (only one, in addition to Andrea Constand, was allowed during the first trial). It has also been reported that the prosecution may bring up Constand’s sexuality in their second attempt at convicting Cosby. The 44-year-old is reportedly gay, a factor that may call into question Cosby’s argument that she consented to their sexual encounter.
[Featured Image by Matt Rourke/AP Images]