Jurors in the civil trial of Bill Cosby asked a series of questions on Thursday afternoon, but had yet to reach a verdict by the end of the day, and will return on Friday morning. Cosby is facing a lawsuit from Judy Huth, a 64-year-old woman who alleges that he molested her after luring her to the Playboy Mansion in 1975, when she was 16.
Huth is suing under a California law that extends the statute of limitations for claims of childhood sex abuse, allowing accusers to pursue their lawsuits well into adulthood. One aspect of that law, allowing a three-year window for plaintiffs to pursue older claims, is being challenged by several dioceses of the Catholic Church in California.
The jurors’ questions suggested they had considered many of the issues they were asked to decide. In one question, the jury asked how many had to agree on a damages award — suggesting that they could be inclined to award Huth some amount of damages.
Nine of the 12 jurors must agree to reach a verdict.
The case has been underway for the last two weeks in Santa Monica Superior Court.
Cosby has not been in attendance, and exercised his Fifth Amendment right not to testify in his own defense. The jurors were shown brief clips of his videotaped deposition, in which he said he would not pursue minors for sex.
The jurors also asked for definitions of a few terms on the verdict forms. In one instance, they asked what it meant to decide that Cosby had an “unnatural or abnormal sexual interest” in a child — one of the elements Huth’s lawyers must prove in order to prevail. Judge Craig Karlan responded that state law holds that any sexual interest in a child is unnatural.
Cosby’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, raised a strenuous objection to that answer, and suggested it could become an issue in the event of an appeal.
The two sides made their closing arguments on Wednesday.