Jury fail to reach verdict after two days of deliberations over Bill Cosby’s trial

Jurors at Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial were scheduled for more deliberations on Wednesday, after failing to reach a verdict after two days of discussions that stretched into the night.

Bill Cosby, who’s on trial for sexual assault in Pennsylvania in a case that is expected to last about two weeks.

Former University employee Andrea Constand alleges the 79-year-old drugged and molested her in 2004.

Mr Cosby says he is innocent and the encounter was consensual.

It is being seen as the biggest US celebrity trial since former American football player OJ Simpson’s murder trial in 1995.

Several of Mr Cosby’s co-stars from the 1984-1992 sitcom The Cosby Show are expected attend the trial in Norristown outside Philadelphia, along with more than 100 journalists. Broadcasters and photographers are expected to camp outside.

Mr Cosby faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $25,000 (£19,500).

In 2004 Ms Constand was 31 when she visited Cosby’s home seeking career advice after befriending him through Temple University in Philadelphia, where he served on the board of trustees.

She said Cosby gave her three blue pills which made her legs feel “like jelly” and that he then began to touch her inappropriately.

In 2006, the comedian settled with Ms Constand after providing an undisclosed cash sum to her.

At least 50 women have accused Mr Cosby of sexual assault, but he only faces charges in Ms Constand’s case because of statutes of limitations.

Prosecutors are expected to use the testimony of Ms Constand as well as that of another woman, known as Kacey, who says she was assaulted by him in the 1990s.

They are also expected to refer to Mr Cosby’s own admission in 2005 that he had used drugs as part of his efforts to have sex with women.

The drugs, called Quaaludes, are a sedative that was widely used recreationally in the US in the 1970s.

However Judge Steven O’Neill has ruled that the court will not hear about the 2006 civil case. Neither will jurors hear from Mr Cosby’s many other accusers.

Mr Cosby says his encounter with Ms Constand was consensual.

He also says he offered women drugs as a way to encourage them to relax rather than a way to render them helpless.

On the night of the alleged sex assault, Mr Cosby says he gave Ms Constand some Benadryl, an anti-allergy medication that can cause drowsiness, because she appeared stressed.

Mr Cosby’s lawyers are expected to ask Ms Constand why she returned to Mr Cosby’s house after she said he had made previous unwanted sexual advances on her.

They may also question why the case is being brought now, more than 10 years after a previous district attorney decided there was not enough evidence to go to trial.

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Adeeko Ademola

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