Bill Cosby, veteran American comedian and actor, walked home a freeman on Saturday after a jury hearing a sexual assault case returned a verdict that adjudged his prosecution a mistrial. Cosby, 79, had faced accusation of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004 but his lawyers argued the sex was consensual. The jury, comprising seven men and five women, was deadlocked for days, and failed to reach a unanimous decision. They deliberated the case for 53 hours.
Announcing the decision, Pennsylvania judge Steven O’Neill reminded Mr Cosby that he remains charged and on bail, despite the mistrial.
It was said Cosby could face new proceedings as the prosecution suggested they were pursuing a fresh trial.
One of Mr Cosby’s lawyers, Brian McMonagle, applauded the decision.
“The judge is right: justice is real,” the counsel said
“We came here looking for an acquittal. But like that Rolling Stone song says ‘you don’t always get what you want’. Sometimes you get what you need.”
But a lawyer representing many of his accusers, Gloria Allred, said she was hoping the prosecution would push for a retrial.
“We can never underestimate the blinding power of celebrity but justice will come. I hope that the prosecution will try this case again.”
Dozens of women accuse Cosby of assaulting them, but statutes of limitation rules mean he was allowed to be tried for Ms Constand’s allegation only.