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Prosecution says it will retry Bill Cosby after deadlocked jury leads to mistrial in sexual assault case

Bill Cosby talks leaves the Allegheny County Courthouse on May 24. (Don Emmert / AFP/Getty Images)
Bill Cosby talks leaves the Allegheny County Courthouse on May 24. (Don Emmert / AFP/Getty Images)

A Pennsylvania judge declared a mistrial Saturday in the case against Bill Cosby after a jury was unable to come to a unanimous decision, an inconclusive finale to one of the most high-profile sexual assault cases in years.

Cosby was charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault in an incident involving former Temple University basketball staffer Andrea Constand at his home in suburban Philadelphia in 2004.

Over the past 10 days, jurors heard the entertainer's defense that the encounter was consensual, while Constand, taking the stand and facing Cosby for the first time, testified that Cosby drugged her and robbed her of the ability to consent.

Had he been found guilty, Cosby, 79, would have faced a maximum of 10 years in prison for each count.

Prosecutors said immediately that they would retry the case, and Judge Steve T. O’Neill said he would try to schedule a new trial within 120 days.

The judge had sent jurors back to continue deliberating Thursday after they first reported an impasse. But he finally concluded Saturday that they could not reach a verdict.

“Do you agree that there’s a hopeless deadlock that cannot be resolved by further deliberations?" he asked after calling the jurors in a little after 10 a.m. All jurors said yes, and O’Neil said, "After 52 hours of deliberation, which is probably one of the most courageous, selfless acts I've ever seen in the criminal justice system, I'm compelled to grant a mistrial."

Victims’ rights groups had looked to the Cosby case as a milestone in a climate in which sexual violence by powerful men has historically gone unpunished. The failure to reach a verdict promises to be especially frustrating to the 60-some women who have stepped forward in the last 2½ years to accuse Cosby of similar acts.

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