June 14, 2017 / 10:08 AM / in 6 months

Cosby sex assault jury ends third day of without verdict

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Reuters) - The jurors deciding comedian Bill Cosby’s fate at his sexual assault trial delved into his accuser’s account on Wednesday, their third day of deliberations, but failed to reach a verdict.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby leaves after the third day of jury deliberation in his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The jury was dismissed for the night at about 9 p.m. (0100 GMT).

The court reporter read back portions of Andrea Constand’s testimony describing how Cosby drugged her and then sexually assaulted her at his Philadelphia-area home in 2004. Later in the day, the jury reviewed Cosby’s six-hour 2005 police interview in which he acknowledged giving Constand anti-allergy pills but characterized the encounter as consensual “petting.”

Cosby, 79, has denied Constand’s allegations, as well as dozens of similar accusations made by women stretching back decades. Only Constand’s claims are recent enough to have led to criminal charges.

The jury began deliberations in Norristown, Pennsylvania, on Monday and stayed late each night since then. They have now deliberated for a total of nearly 30 hours and will resume on Thursday morning.

Cosby, the star of the 1980s hit TV series “The Cosby Show,” did not testify during the trial but his account of the night in question was shown to jurors in his sworn depositions in 2005 and 2006 during Constand’s civil lawsuit as well as the 2005 police interview.

As the deliberations continued on Wednesday, the crowd outside the Montgomery County courthouse appeared to have grown.

“A lot of people looked up to him. I did when I was a kid,” said Roland Jennings, 66, who drove about 20 miles (32 km) from West Chester to wait for the verdict. “He brought this on himself.”

It was unclear how close the jury was to reaching a decision.

Since starting deliberations, the jurors have re-examined both Cosby’s and Constand’s versions of the encounter, with particular focus on the pills he gave her beforehand.

Constand testified that the pills, which Cosby did not identify at the time, left her disoriented and unable to resist. The comedian said in depositions that he gave her the common allergy drug Benadryl and insisted she was a willing participant in the “petting” that followed.

Cosby’s lawyers have argued that Constand was his lover before she fabricated the assault to try to get money from him. They pointed to Constand’s initial statement to police in 2005 that she had never been alone with him beforehand and cut off all contact afterward - both untrue.

Constand testified she was mistaken, and prosecutors called a psychologist who said victims of sexual violence sometimes have trouble remembering details and engage in seemingly irrational behavior.

Prosecutors have portrayed Cosby as a repeat offender with a familiar pattern of abuse.

They called a second woman, Kelly Johnson, who testified that he drugged and sexually assaulted her in 1996. They also showed jurors testimony from his deposition in which he admitted giving young women sedatives in the 1970s.

Additional reporting by David DeKok in Norristown; Editing by Bill Trott and Jeffrey Benkoe

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