NORRISTOWN, Pa — After nearly 40 hours of deliberations in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial, Judge Steven O’Neill sent jurors home at 9 p.m.
During a press conference Thursday night before the jurors went home, Cosby spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt, said, “Hopefully, the judge will not let this go into Friday.”
The jurors will continue to discuss a verdict Friday morning.
Earlier Thursday morning, jurors reported they were unable to reach a unanimous decision on any of the three counts against Cosby.
Cosby has been charged with three counts of aggravated sexual assault. Jurors need to reach a unanimous agreement on some or all of the counts in order to reach a verdict and convict Cosby or find him innocent.
Cosby could face ten years in prison for each count if convicted.
After reading the deadlocked jury directions to jurors, Judge Steven O’Neill urged jurors to continue discussing the charges against the comedian and former Temple trustee.
O’Neill told jurors Thursday night, “I am proud of each and every one of you … this is difficult work you are doing.”
“This is difficult work, but don’t lose sight in what your role is,” he added.
As Cosby left the courthouse Thursday night, people chanted, “Free Bill,” outside the Montgomery County Courthouse. He will return to the courthouse Friday morning for the fifth day of deliberations.
Tensions ran high on the Montgomery County Courthouse steps Thursday afternoon after news of the deadlocked jurors broke.
Lili Bernard, another alleged Cosby sexual assault survivor, clashed with Cosby supporters outside the courthouse Thursday afternoon.
Supporters held signs that said, “There is no rape. She consent,” and chanted, “There is no evidence.”
Bernard told the supporters of her struggle with mental health issues after the alleged abuse.
After the jurors were dismissed for the day, Bernard told The Temple News, “Tomorrow is another day, and hopefully, justice will be served.”
She added that she did not feel optimistic after hearing the jurors would continue deliberations after announcing the deadlock.
“I’m disappointed in whoever the jurists are who are holding out,” she said. “I’ve witnessed a display of rape culture. I’ve witnessed the defense using rape myths, and I am hopeful that the jurist holding out will understand that these tactics are just diversions.”
Cosby allegedly drugged and raped Bernard before her guest star appearance on “The Cosby Show” in 1992, Bernard told The Temple News.
However, jurors will only determine if Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, the central accuser in the case against Cosby and former director of operations for Temple’s women’s basketball team, in his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Cosby was a trustee at the time of the alleged assault.
At the end of the day on Thursday, jurors have deliberated for more than 40 hours this week.
Wyatt, during the press conference Thursday night, said this is the longest jury deliberation in Montgomery County to date.
Kelly Brennan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @_kellybrennan. Follow The Temple News on Twitter @TheTempleNews.