On April 26, 2018, Invoice Cosby was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, whom he had met by way of her job at Temple College. As Nicole Weisensee Egan explains in her new e-book, “Chasing Cosby: The Downfall of America’s Dad” (Seal Press), Constand first went to the police in January 2005. Egan, then a Philadelphia Every day Information reporter, aggressively pursued the story however, regardless of 13 different girls coming ahead with comparable accounts, the DA closed the case a month later. In 2014, a video of comic Hannibal Buress calling Cosby a rapist went viral, prompting greater than 60 girls to return ahead saying he drugged and sexually assaulted them, or tried to do one or the opposite. In 2015, the DA’s workplace reopened the case, charging Cosby with three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
His first trial, in 2017, resulted in a mistrial. However he was convicted in 2018 at his second trial, which allowed testimony from 5 different accusers and a protection witness, Margo Jackson, who stated Constand instructed her she framed Cosby for cash.
Cosby, now serving a three-to 10-year sentence in a jail outdoors Philadelphia, has a personal cell however mingles with the final inhabitants for meals and recreation. His solely identified guests have been his publicists, however he speaks a number of instances a day to his spouse, Camille. He’s interesting his conviction and sentence.
Nobody explains to a jury precisely how they’re presupposed to deliberate.
Jurors are given prolonged, detailed directions about what the legislation is, apply it and resolve whether or not a witness is credible. However past that, they’re on their very own to type by way of the testimonies and proof and are available to an official conclusion.
That truth alone may clarify why the primary Cosby jury struggled as painfully because it did: With a case this complicated, making an attempt to succeed in a consensus of 12 may rapidly grow to be unruly. So when the choose dismissed the courtroom for the final time on Tuesday night and the second jury was let out to start its work of figuring out Cosby’s guilt on three counts, a quiet nervousness stuffed the courthouse as we puzzled how the jurors would handle the job in entrance of them. Would they, too, grow to be indefinitely mired in tangled information and complex feelings? Or would they discover a strategy to methodically evaluate the case, half by half, till they reached a uniform conclusion?
Fortunately, this jury was much more in a position to handle the duty. After they gathered Wednesday morning to start their work, their deliberations have been as methodical and cordial as the primary trial’s jury was chaotic and acrimonious. The foreperson, Cheryl Carmel, then 59, was vp of cybersecurity and privateness for a global emergency notifications agency, and her organized, deliberate and affected person method helped maintain feelings in test and conversations targeted. So did the jurors’ choice early on to take their time.
“We dedicated to not dashing to judgment,” stated Dianne Scelza, then 60, a health-care advisor. “We determined we needed to undergo the case step-by-step, meticulously. We went by way of each witness, each cost, each rely, each query any person had.”
Additionally they set floor guidelines: one individual at a time, cowl one matter at a time till it’s settled, increase palms to be acknowledged, and be respectful of others.
At first, it was only a reduction to the jurors to have the ability to speak to at least one one other. Throughout the trial, they’d been sequestered at a neighborhood lodge, the place they have been forbidden to debate the testimony with anybody — even one another. They might solely see relations on prearranged Sunday visits; in actual fact, their households weren’t even instructed the place they have been staying. On Sundays, a sheriff’s deputy got here to their lodge and took them to a different location, the place they’d meet their households. It’s a lonely expertise, and for these jurors, it had been three lengthy weeks of isolation.
After establishing the bottom guidelines for deliberation, they took the following hour and a half to launch pent-up feelings.
“It was a free for all,” Carmel stated. “We simply kinda spilled all the pieces.”
After that, the group agreed that they weren’t able to vote and that they needed to dig into the case. First, they turned their consideration to the three costs, studying every aloud, phrase by phrase, to make sure they have been in sync on the definitions of the phrases and lingo. There have been three separate costs of aggravated indecent assault, every with barely totally different components to them saying Cosby digitally penetrated Andrea: (1) with out her consent, (2) whereas she was unconscious, and (3) after drugging her with out her information to wipe out her resistance.
The choose instructed them that with the intention to discover Cosby responsible of this primary crime, they wanted to be satisfied past an inexpensive doubt that 4 components have been confirmed, together with that she didn’t consent to what occurred. For the second, that she was unconscious when it occurred and thus unable to consent and that Cosby recklessly disregarded that. And for the third, that Cosby not solely gave her medicine that wiped away her resistance however that he then “recklessly” disregarded that impairment whereas assaulting her.
Their first actual debate was over the definition of consent. This was the guts of the case: Cosby stated what occurred between him and Andrea was consensual, and he or she stated it was not. That is additionally the place Carmel’s job got here in helpful: She’d simply been coping with this very challenge for a brand new European data-protection legislation that was about to take impact.
“That is essentially the most far-reaching legislation anyplace on the earth for particular person privateness,” she stated, “and the idea of the legislation facilities round a person’s ‘consent.’ ”
The definition of consent on this privateness legislation states it have to be freely given, particular, knowledgeable and unambiguous. It have to be given by a transparent affirmative act; it have to be demonstrated that every of the above checks occurred, and it should be capable to be withdrawn at any time. She defined this to her fellow jurors.
“That is the privateness definition,” she stated. “Certainly, there’s a particular authorized definition of consent for legal acts similar to aggravated indecent assault.”
It turns on the market isn’t, at the least not in Pennsylvania.
The jury despatched a word to the choose, requesting a definition of the phrase. The choose replied in open courtroom. His reply was perplexing to the jury; they have been knowledgeable that there isn’t a definition — that’s, Pennsylvania legislation doesn’t provide a definition of “consent,” and the choose suggested the jurors to outline the phrase for themselves.
In the long run, they went with out defining it in any respect. “Cosby didn’t deny performing the act of penetration,” Carmel stated. “Constand stated explicitly she didn’t consent.”
That was key. In Pennsylvania, in sexual-assault circumstances, believing the sufferer, discovering her credible, is sufficient to convict.
After that, the jury continued this fashion by way of the fees, repeating them a number of instances and parsing every phrase to verify they absolutely understood the essences and implications of every phrase.
“It’s virtually like diagraming sentences and flowcharting costs,” Scelza stated. “We have been making an attempt to decipher what these costs actually meant as a result of it’s complicated authorized language. We needed to verify we actually understood what we have been being requested.”
A number of hours handed on this method, after which the jurors shifted their focus to the witnesses. They mentioned and debated which of them they discovered credible, which of them they discovered not credible, and which have been simply irrelevant.
All of them agreed they discovered Andrea credible, and so they all agreed that the 5 accusers have been credible, too.
“Collectively they confirmed a sample,” Scelza stated. “A few of them have been quirky, however I say, ‘So what? Who amongst us is ideal?’ I don’t care if any person took medicine. I don’t care if any person saved a photograph album or memorabilia. None of that had something to do with the actual fact they have been sexually assaulted.”
However they weren’t in settlement about Margo Jackson. Some felt she was plausible; others have been not sure.
“I actually didn’t purchase Margo’s testimony,” Scelza stated. “There have been a number of causes, together with the truth that she didn’t have an expense report for 2004 however did for 2003 . . . She wouldn’t even have a look at us whereas she was testifying.”
And so they additionally needed to verify they understood what Cosby stated occurred as a result of his statements have been so disjointed and rambling.
In fact, Cosby wasn’t an precise witness — he was by no means on the stand — however his deposition excerpts supplied the jury a chance to learn Cosby’s testimony below oath.
So the jurors returned to the courtroom to rehear Cosby’s deposition testimony, which took two hours, after which they returned to the courtroom once more the following morning to listen to Jackson’s testimony repeated, too.
They listened carefully, after which they once more adjourned to the jury room. After listening to Jackson’s testimony as soon as once more, the jurors who had believed her modified their minds. All of them now agreed she was not credible.
Not lengthy after that, the jury was prepared — they needed to vote.
Every of the three costs was learn aloud, and cost by cost, the group voted by elevating their palms. The votes have been unanimous on all three offenses.
Understanding the protection or prosecution may ask to ballot every juror individually, Carmel learn every cost once more and had every juror reply verbally earlier than she put a single mark on the decision sheet. Nothing modified.
Outdoors the courtroom, reporters, lawmakers and different officers may solely marvel how the jury was faring, however one factor we anticipated was for the deliberations to final a number of days, if not weeks. However after solely 14 hours of jury deliberations, we have been notified that courtroom would reconvene at 1:30 p.m. That was in 14 minutes. Might or not it’s a verdict? Was it one other mistrial? Nobody was saying.
Surprised, everybody rushed to the courtroom.
The courtroom was fully silent as we watched the jury file in, wanting somber. Carmel’s palms shook as she handed the decision sheet to the courtroom official, who learn three costs aloud and requested Carmel to declare the decision for every.
Responsible. Responsible. Responsible.
Every time she stated the phrase responsible, the courtroom erupted with gasps. I’m fairly certain a few of them have been mine. By the third time, Carmel was calm and regular, assured within the choices the jury had made.
“I do know it’s the best choice,” she instructed me later of why her palms have been shaking at first. “However on the identical time, I do know what it means to this American icon we have now often called Dr. Huxtable, and to the victims, understanding that their voices are lastly heard.”
Excerpted from “Chasing Cosby: The Downfall of America’s Dad,” by Nicole Weisensee Egan, Seal Press, April 23, 2019. There can be an writer occasion on April 23 from 6-7 pm at NOW-NYC, 150 West 28th St. in Manhattan.