Bill Cosby-Civil Trial-Explainer
FILE - Bill Cosby arrives for a sentencing hearing following his sexual assault conviction at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown Pa., on Sept. 25, 2018. Eleven months after he was freed from prison, 85-year-old Cosby will again be the defendant in a sexual assault proceeding, this time a civil case in California. Judy Huth, who is now 64, alleges that in 1975 when she was 16, Cosby sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
entertainment

Civil jury finds Bill Cosby sexually abused teenager in 1975

9 Comments
By BRIAN MELLEY

Jurors at a civil trial found Tuesday that Bill Cosby sexually abused a 16-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1975.

The Los Angeles County jury delivered the verdict in favor of Judy Huth, who is now 64, and awarded her $500,000.

Jurors found that Cosby intentionally caused harmful sexual contact with Huth, that he reasonably believed she was under 18, and that his conduct was driven by unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in a minor.

The jurors’ decision is a major legal defeat for the 84-year-old entertainer once hailed as America’s dad. It comes nearly a year after his Pennsylvania criminal conviction for sexual assault was thrown out and he was freed from prison. Huth’s lawsuit was one of the last remaining legal claims against him after his insurer settled many others against his will.

Cosby did not attend the trial or testify in person, but short clips from 2015 video deposition were played for jurors, in which he denied any sexual contact with Huth. He continues to deny the allegation through his attorney and publicist.

Jurors had already reached conclusions on nearly every question on their verdict form, including whether Cosby abused Huth and whether she deserved damages, after two days of deliberations on Friday. But the jury foreperson could not serve further because of a personal commitment, and the panel had to start deliberating from scratch with an alternate juror on Monday.

Cosby’s attorneys agreed that Cosby met Huth and her high school friend on a Southern California film set in April of 1975, then took them to the Playboy Mansion a few days later.

Huth’s friend Donna Samuelson, a key witness, took photos at the mansion of Huth and Cosby, which loomed large at the trial.

Huth testified that in a bedroom adjacent to a game room where the three had been hanging out, Cosby attempted to put his hand down her pants, then exposed himself and forced her to perform a sex act.

Huth filed her lawsuit in 2014, saying that her son turning 15 — the age she initially remembered being when she went to the mansion — and a wave of other women accusing Cosby of similar acts brought fresh trauma over what she had been through as a teenager.

Huth’s attorney Nathan Goldberg told the jury of nine women and three men during closing arguments Wednesday that “my client deserves to have Mr. Cosby held accountable for what he did.”

“Each of you knows in your heart that Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted Miss Huth,” Goldberg said.

A majority of jurors apparently agreed, giving Huth a victory in a suit that took eight years and overcame many hurdles just to get to trial.

During their testimony, Cosby attorney Jennifer Bonjean consistently challenged Huth and Samuelson over errors in detail in their stories, and a similarity in the accounts that the lawyer said represented coordination between the two women.

This included the women saying in pre-trial depositions and police interviews that Samuelson had played Donkey Kong that day, a game not released until six years later.

Bonjean made much of this, in what both sides came to call the “Donkey Kong defense.”

Goldberg asked jurors to look past the small errors in detail that he said were inevitable in stories that were 45 years old, and focus on the major issues behind the allegations. He pointed out to jurors that Samuelson said “games like Donkey Kong” when she first mentioned it in her deposition.

The Cosby lawyer began her closing arguments by saying, “It’s on like Donkey Kong,” and finished by declaring, “game over.”

Huth’s attorney reacted with outrage during his rebuttal.

“This is about justice!” he shouted, pounding on the podium. “We don’t need game over! We need justice!”

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9 Comments
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If Cosby did actually commit the offense then then this is some form of justice. But I do wonder how He can possibly be convicted on what seems to be their word against his 50 years after the alleged incident and with no material evidence? Or am I missing something?

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Why was a 16 year old girl at the Playboy Mansion partying? That's sex central.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

SpeedToday  11:32 am JST

Why was a 16 year old girl at the Playboy Mansion partying? That's sex central.

Cosby invited her into the Mansion. She ran into him at a park, and there were ancient video games in a parlor. And then.....

What's a 63rd victim allegation make now - his reputation is forever tarnished. He threw his legacy away. Having been enriched from his achievements from PBS to 'Fat Albert' to 'The Cosby Show' to his stand-up, I'm very saddened by all this.

Is anything real or sacred???

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So he dies penniless instead of behind bars. Not what I’d like but I’ll take it.

Every one of the women he raped should sue him civilly if they haven’t already.

Leave this old perv broke and destitute.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Seems any woman or man can come to say (s)he patted me on the bottom donkeys years ago and claim thousands. No one's going after the poor, unknown person, I wonder why

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

A majority of jurors apparently agreed

Isn't a jury verdict supposed to be unanimous? A mere majority is a hung jury and the case must be refiled with a new jury was my understanding.

Concerned Citizen

Today 09:10 am JST 

...But I do wonder how He can possibly be convicted on what seems to be their word against his 50 years after the alleged incident and with no material evidence? Or am I missing something

Since it was before a jury in the common law system (anglosphere), emotional appeal to laymen (jury) is all that's really needed. Dont know why Cosby opted for a jury trial, as is his right to choose, as the accused. A bench (judge) trial would make more sense as law, and not emotional appeal, would be used.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Edit: a civil case doesn't require a unanimous decision by the jury, for some odd reason. Also the standards of guilt are much lower. Reasonable doubt is not the standard.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It seems rather a lot of people seem to forget just who Cosby is and what he did. This is the guy who while building an image of beloved father figure loved by Americans of all colors (He was a graduate of the same University I went to graduate school at. We saw his graduation speech and laughed heartily.), was using his fame to hunt, groom, drug and sexually assault NO FEWER THAN 60 women.

He was convicted on several of those counts but the conviction was overturned, not because he was innocent or he had reduced capacity, but because evidence that he gave in a civil deposition for which he was given some kind of immunity, was used to convict him.

In other words: Bill Cosby is a serial sex offender who basically got away with it.

Think about that a bit before belittling the woman (a girl at the time) he lured to the playboy mansion and then raped.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Put him back in jail where he belongs.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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