Retrying Bill Cosby On Sexual Assault Charges: What Comes Next?
Prosecutors in suburban Philadelphia plan to retry Bill Cosby after his two-week sexual assault trial ended Saturday in a mistrial, with the jury unable to reach a unanimous decision on any of the three counts. Cosby is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his home near Philadelphia in 2004. The entertainer says what happened was consensual.
Some key things to know about the retrial:
WHEN WILL IT BE?
Judge Steven O'Neill plans to start the second trial within four months. Typically, prosecutors have that long to decide whether to retry someone in Pennsylvania. But District Attorney Kevin Steele announced his decision right after a mistrial was declared. Either side could file motions that might delay the trial. Under state law, a defendant must be retried within 180 days if they are in custody or 365 days if they are free on bail. Cosby, who turns 80 in July, is free on $1 million bond.
COULD MORE ACCUSERS TESTIFY?
Prosecutors had asked to have 13 other women testify to bolster their allegation that Cosby had a history of drugging and molesting women, but Judge O'Neill allowed just one to take the stand. Barbara Ashcroft, who directs the trial advocacy program at Temple University's Beasley School of Law, doubts O'Neill would change his mind. However, she said it's a different story if additional women come forward with allegations against Cosby. O'Neill might have to judge anew whether to allow more than one outside accuser to testify.
WILL JURORS AGAIN COME FROM PITTSBURGH?
The search for jurors without any feelings on the case will only be more difficult given the intense coverage of the first trial. About 130 reporters were credentialed to watch the trial inside the courthouse while hundreds more were part of camera crews stationed outside. Because of pretrial publicity, jurors in the first trial were selected from the Pittsburgh area and bused 300 miles to suburban Philadelphia, where they were sequestered. It's not yet clear if the state Supreme Court will pick a different county to draw the next jury from.
COULD THERE BE A PLEA DEAL?
Cosby's camp has said he turned down a plea deal that would have spared him jail time, but District Attorney Kevin Steele's spokeswoman, Kate Delano, said Monday: "We never offered him a plea deal. We're going to trial." For Cosby to plead to a misdemeanor, a lesser charge, he would have to waive the two-year statute of limitations that would apply to the 2004 encounter. Such waivers are uncommon but not unprecedented. Cosby was charged just days before the 12-year deadline for filing felony charges. If further details become known about how the jury split, that could affect views of a possible plea.