A trial attorney said that the jury’s long deliberation time and request to clarify the concept of “reasonable doubt” in Bill Cosby’s trial could possibly result in a mistrial.
Following six days of testimony and closing arguments, the 12 jurors in Cosby’s trial are in their fifth day of deciding whether the famed comedian is guilty of giving drugs to and molesting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand more than a decade ago.
After the jurors announced that they were unable to reach a unanimous decision on Thursday morning, a judge sent them back to continue trying to settle on a verdict. By the end of Friday, the jurors had spent nearly 50 hours deliberating the case.
The prosecution spent five days laying out evidence from Constand herself as well as expert witnesses, while the defense took just over six minutes to argue that Constand had agreed to sleep with Cosby.
Benedict Morelli, a prominent trial attorney who represented Tracy Morgan in the case against Wal-Mart, told Business Insider that the fact that the jurors asked the judge to clarify the concept of reasonable doubt means that it’s likely one or two jurors are holding out against finding Cosby guilty rather than the other way around.
“It’s very, very hard for juries to work on cases where someone is loved by so many people,” said Morelli on the fact that it’s difficult for Cosby’s celebrity status not to influence his case. He said that in other high-profile celebrity cases such as O.J. Simpson’s murder trial, juries arrived at a non-guilty verdict within hours.
“It’s very harrowing for juries when they’re sequestered,” he said, adding that many people do not understand just how difficult “beyond a reasonable doubt” is to prove.
Morelli also said that, in Cosby’s case, a mistrial could be tantamount to an acquittal due to the length of time it takes to redo a trial of this nature — particularly if Constand chooses not to go through the long trial process again.