The jurors who convicted Bill Cosby at his sexual assault retrial in the Philadelphia area said the decision was only influenced by what happened in court, and the youngest member of the panel said the comedian’s own words sealed his fate.
Harrison Snyder said in an interview aired Monday on ABC’s Good Morning America that Cosby’s deposition — in which he admitted giving women drugs to have sex with them — was the evidence that made him believe he was guilty.
“I think it was his deposition, really. Mr. Cosby admitted to giving these quaaludes to women, young women, in order to have sex with them,” Snyder said of a deposition that was part of a civil case brought by complainant Andrea Constand.
The 22-year-old said it “wasn’t an open and shut case,” but that he had no doubt the jury made the right decision in convicting Cosby Thursday on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
The investigation into Cosby was reopened in July 2015 after a federal judge, acting on a request from The Associated Press, unsealed portions of Cosby’s deposition testimony from a civil lawsuit he settled with Constand in 2006 for $3.4 million US.
In the testimony, which was read to jurors at both trials, he described giving quaaludes to women before sex in the 1970s and his encounters with Constand, a Temple University women’s basketball administrator.
Five other women testified at the retrial that Cosby had drugged and molested them as well, but Snyder said they weren’t a factor in his decision.
“I don’t think it really necessarily mattered that these other five women were here because he said it himself that he used drugs for other women,” he said.
Little knowledge of Cosby’s celebrity
Snyder said he didn’t know much about the 80-year-old comedian before the trial and knew nothing of the allegations.
“I knew he was an actor, I knew he did The Cosby Show. I never watched The Cosby Show, I’m a little too young for that.”
Cosby, 80, is now a prisoner in his own suburban Philadelphia home and faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars as he awaits sentencing within the next three months on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
He has maintained his innocence. His publicist has declared his conviction a “public lynching,” and his lawyers have vowed to appeal.
“This is what they wanted,” Cosby told the New York Post’s Page Six after his conviction. He referred to prison as “that place.”
The Post said it also interviewed Cosby last year during his first trial, which ended in a mistrial because of a hung jury. But the newspaper agreed to hold his comments while his case wound through the courts.
Cosby said he rejected a plea deal that would have required him to serve house arrest and register as a sex offender — a claim rejected by the DA’s office last year, when Cosby’s side first made it, and again on Monday.
“We never offered Mr. Cosby a plea deal at any time. We were confident in our evidence and were focused on proceeding to trial,” District Attorney Kevin Steele’s spokesperson, Kate Delano, said Monday.
Not once were race or the #metoo movement ever discussed, nor did either factor into our decision, as implied in various media outlets.– Cosby jury statement
The Cosby jury issued a statement saying its decision was not influenced in any way by factors other than what was seen and heard in the courtroom. They said race and the #MeToo movement were never discussed, according to the statement, obtained by NBC’s Today show.
“After thoughtful and meticulous consideration of the information and evidence provided to us, we came to our unanimous verdict,” the jury said in the statement.
“Not once were race or the #metoo movement ever discussed, nor did either factor into our decision, as implied in various media outlets.”
Wider ramifications of decision
Prosecutor Kristen Feden told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday that in the tense moments before the jury convicted Cosby, she started to worry about the global implications if the #MeToo era’s first big trial went the other way.
“I felt like this verdict could dictate something more,” Feden said.
“If they found him not guilty, I felt like they were feeding into every character assassination on sex crime victims.”
Prosecutors said they are confident Cosby’s conviction will stand.
Two days after the conviction, law books and papers were still strewn on a long table in the war room where prosecutors plotted their strategy: leading off with an expert to educate the jury in victim behaviour, successfully fighting to call five additional accusers and fending off the defence’s allegations that Constand was a scammer framing Cosby for a big payday.
The additional accusers allowed prosecutors to uncloak the man once revered as America’s Dad as a manipulative predator who used his built-in trust to trick women into taking powerful intoxicants so he could violate them. One woman pointedly called Cosby a “serial rapist,” and another asked him through her tears, “You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?”
Feden, who worked out a deal to stay as a special prosecutor after leaving for private practice, said she felt “that needed to be exposed.”
“That was the most sickening part of this all,” she said. “When people in positions of power use that power to victimize people, I find that to be beyond disgusting.”
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, as Constand did.