Jury finds Bill Cosby sexually abused teen in the 1970s, orders him to pay $500,000
Bill Cosby sexually abused a teenage Judy Huth at the Playboy Mansion in the mid-1970s, a civil jury decided Tuesday in Santa Monica. The disgraced comedian, 84, was ordered to pay Huth $500,000.
In her civil lawsuit, which was filed in 2014, Huth accused Cosby of giving her alcohol and taking her to the Playboy Mansion in 1975, when she was 16. Huth said Cosby, who was in his late 30s at the time, attempted to put his hand down her pants. After she said she was on her period, she said, he put her hand on his erect penis and masturbated him.
For the record:
5:10 p.m. June 21, 2022An earlier version of this article said Cosby was found guilty. He was found liable in this civil trial.
Tuesday’s verdict comes nearly a year after Cosby was released from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his conviction in a separate case involving sexual assault allegations. His trial with Huth, which began June 1 and lasted nearly three weeks, was long delayed because of that criminal case, which began in 2017.
After Cosby was freed from prison on June 30, 2021, however, momentum for Huth’s case picked back up.
After two days of deliberations, jurors in a civil trial deciding on sexual abuse allegations against Bill Cosby will have to start from scratch on Monday.
“First, we thank the jury for their verdict of compensatory damages that they have awarded our client, Ms. Huth,” Gloria Allred, one of Huth’s lawyers, said in a statement to The Times. “The verdict is $500,000. Second, we thank our client Judy Huth for her courage and many sacrifices to win justice in this case. We are honored to represent her. Third, I want to thank my partners Nathan Goldberg and John West for being exceptional litigators and trial lawyers in this case, and I want the world to know that I feel blessed that they have both been my law partners for so many decades.
“Fourth, I want to thank all of the women who spoke out over the years, and refused to be silent in the face of what they believed to be injustice and sexual abuse by powerful men. The late United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, ‘Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.’ Today our client, Judy Huth, won real change because she fought Bill Cosby one step at a time over seven and a half years, and she proved with the jury’s verdict that Mr. Cosby did sexually assault her when she was a minor, and that he should be held accountable for what he did to her.”
The comedian and essayist wanted to start a conversation that leads to social change, he says. But he has no desire to speak to Cosby himself.
On Monday, the jury had nearly reached a complete verdict in Huth’s lawsuit but was sent back to deliberations by Judge Craig D. Karlan. At the end of Friday’s court session, the jury had answered eight of nine questions on the verdict form. The only question remaining was whether Cosby should pay punitive damages for his alleged actions.
Karlan, who had promised one juror when she agreed to serve that she could leave after Friday for a prior commitment, decided over the objections of Cosby’s attorneys to accept and read the verdict on the questions the jury had answered. But he had to change course when deputies at the Santa Monica Courthouse appeared and required him to clear the courtroom. The courthouse has a required closure time of 4:30 p.m. because of no budget for deputies’ overtime.
Karlan refused to require the departing juror, who had been chosen as foreperson, to return Monday, so jurors had to begin again with an alternate in her place.
Cosby did not attend or testify during the trial, although his video deposition was played during the proceedings. The former “Cosby Show” star, who was 78 at the time of the deposition, gave terse “no” answers when asked questions about whether or not he had committed the alleged assault.
As Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial enters second week, Judy Huth takes the stand
Judy Huth, who has accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager in the 1970s, testified in a Santa Monica court Tuesday.
Asked whether it was possible that these things happened but Cosby didn’t remember them, Cosby also answered “no.”
“Why would that not be possible?” Huth’s attorney, Nathan Goldberg, asked.
“Because,” Cosby replied, “the fact that this young lady is saying that she told me she was 15.”
Huth, 64, took the stand June 7 after Judge Karlan ordered her to testify.
“I had my eyes closed at that point,” Huth said in court. “I was freaking out.”
Huth said that in the decades since the alleged attack, she’d entered a dark period of isolation and depression, cycling between abusive relationships that left her further scarred.
Still, she said her mind always went back to the alleged attack by Cosby, especially once other women began accusing him of similar behavior.
In closing statements, Bill Cosby’s lawyer tries to poke holes in accuser’s testimony
Closing arguments started Wednesday in Bill Cosby’s latest sexual assault trial. The comedian is accused of assaulting Judy Huth when she was a teen.
Throughout the case, Cosby’s legal team had tried to poke holes in Huth’s timeline of alleged events, pointing out inconsistencies in side details that were inaccurate. Huth had previously said that the alleged incident happened in 1974 when she was 15, but then changed her story to say it happened in 1975 when she was 16.
Asked in court what made her change her story, Huth said she saw pictures of Cosby with a beard in 1975, which he didn’t have the year before. She also said she had discovered the date of a National Enquirer issue, which featured on the cover actor Peter Lawford, whom she had seen at the dinner table the night of the alleged incident.
Cosby’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, also drilled Huth on why a number of life milestones did not remind her of when the alleged assault occurred, specifically Huth’s relationship status and when she befriended Donna Samuelson, with whom she went to the Playboy Mansion the day of the alleged attack.
Here’s why Bill Cosby is back on trial nearly a year after his release from prison
Bill Cosby, 84, will stand trial starting June 1 after Judy Huth accused him of sexual assault when she was a teenager in the ‘70s. Catch up on the case.
Huth shrugged off many of the questions, plainly saying some variation of “I was inaccurate” in response to each question.
At one point, Bonjean pointed out a discrepancy where photos of the game room Huth had referenced showed a different layout than what Huth had described. On this and other challenges, Huth remained terse, meeting many of Bonjean’s questions with “no” or “I don’t remember.”
The Associated Press and Times staff writer Christi Carras contributed to this report.
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