National News

Cosby Jury Says Accuser’s Credibility, Not #MeToo, Led to Guilty Verdict

Posted April 30, 2018 8:13 p.m. EDT
Updated April 30, 2018 8:18 p.m. EDT

In a joint statement on Monday, the jurors who voted to convict Bill Cosby of sexual assault last week said that they believed his accuser’s account and were persuaded of his guilt by the facts, not the momentum of social change captured in the #MeToo movement.

“Not once were race or the #metoo movement ever discussed, nor did either factor into our decision, as implied in various media outlets,” the jurors, whose names have not been released, said in the statement.

In particular, the jurors said they found the testimony of Andrea Constand, the former Temple University employee who said Cosby had drugged and molested her, to be believable. “Each one of us found her account credible and compelling,” the statement said.

The joint statement was released after an interview surfaced with the only one of the 12 jurors to come forward after the verdict to discuss the deliberations. The juror, Harrison Snyder, said in a television interview with ABC News that the most damning evidence was not Constand’s testimony or statements by five other women who said he had also assaulted them, but Cosby’s own comments.

Snyder said that Cosby’s remarks in a deposition in a 2005 lawsuit — saying that he had given quaaludes to women in an effort to have sex with them — proved that he was guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting Constand at his Pennsylvania home 14 years ago. That deposition was for a lawsuit filed by Constand, who had said he gave her three blue pills before assaulting her. Cosby has said they were Benadryl.

“It was his deposition, really,” Snyder, 22, the youngest of the 12 jurors, said in an interview that aired on Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “Mr. Cosby admitted to giving these quaaludes to women, young women, in order to have sex with them.”

In the deposition, Cosby acknowledged that he had drugged another accuser, Therese Serignese, after they met at a Las Vegas hotel in 1976. “I give her quaaludes. We then have sex,” he said in the deposition.

The conviction on Thursday of Cosby, who was found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault, was immediately viewed by many as a turning point in the #MeToo movement, which would tilt the balance of power and influence in courtrooms for female accusers.

But Snyder said, as the broader panel said in its statement, that #MeToo did not weigh on his mind during the two days of deliberations last week at the Montgomery County Courthouse outside Philadelphia. In fact, he said he had not heard of the movement until after he left the courthouse Thursday and read up on the news coverage of the trial.

“I really only found out about it after I got home,” Snyder, who also said he had only a vague understanding of Cosby’s career before the trial, told ABC News. “Then I looked online to see what everything was.”

Snyder said he believed the account of Constand, who testified on April 13 about the night in 2004 she said she was assaulted at Cosby’s house. He said he also believed the testimony of five other women who said that Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted them.

Prosecutors in the case had persuaded Judge Steven T. O’Neill to allow the women to speak during the trial, letting them to add their stories to the account of Constand. Cosby had faced only one other accuser in his first trial, which ended last summer in a hung jury. That trial had also presented Cosby’s deposition.

Snyder said he still would have found Cosby guilty even if the five women had been barred from testifying in the retrial.

“In the deposition, he stated that he gave these drugs to other women,” he said. “I don’t think it really necessarily mattered that these other five women were here, because he said it himself, that he used these drugs on other women.”

The anonymous jury was sequestered at a local hotel during the trial. O’Neill, who has yet to release the names of the men and women who sat on the jury, scheduled a hearing for Tuesday to discuss a request by several news organizations for the identities of the jurors.

After the first trial, O’Neill only reluctantly released the names of jurors to the news media after a similar hearing. He ruled that he had had little choice, under a 2007 state Supreme Court ruling.

Even then he sharply limited what jurors were allowed to discuss about the protracted deliberations, leaving them free only to reveal their own views and actions.

Cosby’s lawyers have said the entertainer, 80, will appeal the conviction.

On Monday, the jurors in their statement were direct in asserting that they had taken great care in their deliberations, and recognized during the discussions the magnitude of what they had been asked to decide.

“Each of us spoke of the weight of our responsibility,” the statement said. “We understood the consequences to human lives, to an American icon, and to all who are victims and we knew we needed to be comfortable with our decisions in order to be able to sleep at night with clear consciences. Each of us is walking away with that sense of peace, knowing we performed our duty in the manner it deserved.”