(Santa Monica, Calif.) — A jury found in a civil trial Tuesday that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1975.
A Los Angeles County jury found in favor of 64-year-old Judy Huss, awarding her $500,000. She said jurors thought her story meant more than money or the fact that she didn’t win punitive damages.
“It’s torture,” Hus said of the seven-year legal battle. “To get ripped, you know, get thrown under a bus and back up. For me, that is a great victory.”
The jury found that Cosby intentionally caused harmful sexual contact with Huth, that he had reason to believe that she was under the age of 18, and that his actions were motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in a minor.
The jury’s decision was a major legal defeat for the 84-year-old entertainer, once dubbed the father of America. His criminal conviction for sexual assault in Pennsylvania was thrown out almost a year ago and he was released from prison. Huth’s lawsuit is one of the last remaining legal claims against him after his insurance company settled many others against his will.
Cosby did not appear at trial or testify in person, but he did show the jury a brief snippet of video testimony from 2015 in which he denied having sexual contact with Huss. She continued to deny the allegation through his attorney and publicist.
Cosby’s spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, said they would appeal the verdict, claiming the defense won because Huth did not win punitive damages.
After two days of deliberations on Friday, jurors reached a conclusion on nearly every question in the verdict, including whether Cosby abused Huth and whether she deserved harm. But the jury foreman was unable to remain in office due to a personal commitment, and the jury had to start deliberating from scratch with alternate jurors on Monday.
Cosby’s attorneys agreed that Cosby met Huss and his high school friends at a Southern California movie in April 1975 and took them to the Playboy Mansion a few days later.
Huth’s friend, Donna Samuelson, a key witness, was photographed at Huth and Cosby’s mansion, which featured prominently in the trial.
Huth testified that in a bedroom near the game room where the three hung out, Cosby tried to put his hand down her pants before exposing himself and forcing her to have sex.
Huth filed the lawsuit in 2014, saying her son, 15, the age she initially remembers when he went to the mansion, and a wave of other women who have accused Cosby of similar behavior, have brought new trauma to her. adolescent experience.
“My client should hold Mr. Cosby accountable for what he did,” Huth’s attorney, Nathan Goldberg, told a jury of nine women and three men in closing arguments Wednesday.
“Each of you knows that Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted Ms. Huss,” Goldberg said.
At least nine of 12 jurors agreed, allowing Huth to prevail in a lawsuit that took nearly eight years and overcame many hurdles to reach trial.
In her testimony, Cosby’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, has consistently challenged Huth and Samuelson’s inaccuracies in the details of their stories, as well as similarities in accounts that the attorneys say represent coordination between the two women.
That included pre-trial testimony from women and police interviews that Samuelson played Donkey Kong that day, a game that wasn’t released until six years later.
Bonjean took advantage of this and both sides called it “Donkey Kong Defense”.
Goldberg asked jurors to take a close look at the small mistakes that he said were inevitable in history 45 years ago and to focus on the main issues behind the charges. He pointed out to jurors that Samuelson said “Donkey Kong” when he first mentioned “Donkey Kong-like games” in his testimony.
Cosby’s attorney said “just like Donkey Kong” in closing arguments, eventually declaring “game over”.
Huss’s attorney reacted angrily to his rebuttal.
“This is about justice!” he shouted her, hitting the podium. “We don’t need the game to end! We need justice!”
The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they have been sexually abused unless they come forward publicly, as Huss did.
Outside court, four women representing dozens of Cosby sexual assault victims celebrated the verdict.
Chelan Lasha, who testified against Cosby in the Pennsylvania case, was in tears. She said he drugged and assaulted her in Elvis Presley’s suite at the Las Vegas Hilton when she was 17.
“He’s an alcoholic, he’s a sexual predator, he’s a deviant,” Lasha said. It is awful. It’s another win. I’m here to support Judy. I am so proud of Judy. I am happy with the result.”
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