SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Jurors reached a verdict Tuesday in a lawsuit by a woman who says Bill Cosby sexually abused her at the Playboy Mansion in 1975.
The Los Angeles County Superior Court jury said it reached its verdict about 30 minutes after the forewoman told the judge they were deadlocked.
Jurors had been stuck on the question of whether to award punitive damages to Judy Huth. In order to reach that question on the verdict form, jurors had to decide if Cosby harmed Huth when she was 16 and arrive at some figure for compensatory damages.
If the jury decides Cosby acted with malice, another phase of trial will determine punitive damages.
Cosby, 84, who was freed from prison when his Pennsylvania criminal conviction was thrown out nearly a year ago, has not attended the trial that lasted more than two weeks. He denied any sexual contact with Huth in a clip from a 2015 video deposition shown to jurors. The denial has been repeated throughout the trial by his spokesman and his attorney.
The verdict followed an unusual set of circumstances after a juror was excused Friday as the panel had resolved all the issues except whether to award punitive damages.
An alternate was chosen and jurors had to begin deliberations anew on Monday. They quickly seemed to arrive at the same impasse about whether to punish Cosby for his behavior.
Cosby lawyer Jennifer Bonjean moved for a mistrial when the jury said it couldn’t resolve its differences. But Judge Craig Karlan said the jury had deliberated less than eight hours over two days. He said he might keep them another day.
Word came from the jury room that a verdict was reached soon thereafter.
It was to be read at 3:30 p.m. local time.
The Associated Press does not normally name people who say they have been sexually abused, unless they come forward publicly, as Huth has.
AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton contributed to this report.