On Tuesday, a jury in a civil trial found that Bill Cosby raped a 16-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1975.
The Los Angeles County jury returned a verdict in favor of Judy Huth, now 64, and awarded her $500,000. She said the fact that the jury believed her story meant more than the amount of money or the fact that she didn’t win the punitive damages.
“It was torture,” Huth said of the seven-year legal battle. “You know, being torn apart, thrown under a bus and thrown back. It’s such a big win for me.”
The jury found that Cosby deliberately caused dangerous sexual contact with Huth, that he reasonably believed she was under 18, and that his behavior was due to an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in a minor.
The jury’s decision is a major legal setback for the 84-year-old artist who was once called the “Father of America”. It comes almost a year after his Pennsylvania sexual assault conviction was vacated and he was released from prison. Huth’s lawsuit was one of the last remaining lawsuits against him after his insurance company settled many others against his will.
Cosby did not attend the trial and did not testify in person, but jurors were shown short excerpts from a 2015 videotaped testimony in which he denied any sexual contact with Huth. He continues to deny the allegations through his lawyer and publicist.
Cosby’s spokesman Andrew Wyatt said they would appeal the verdict and stated that the defense won because Huth received no punitive damages.
Photos are a key part of the trial
Jurors have already reached conclusions on nearly every issue in the form of a verdict, including whether Cosby Hoot was abusive and deserves damages, after two days of deliberations on Friday. But the chairman of the jury could not continue due to personal obligations, and the panel had to start discussions from scratch with the deputy juror on Monday.
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Cosby’s lawyers agreed that Cosby met Huth and her high school friend on a film set in Southern California in April 1975, and drove them to the Playboy Mansion a few days later.
Huth’s girlfriend Donna Samuelson, a key witness, photographed Huth and Cosby’s mansion, which looked very imposing at the trial.
Hoot testified that in a bedroom adjoining the games room where the three of them hung out, Cosby tried to put his hand in her pants, then got naked and forced her to have sexual intercourse.
Huth filed a lawsuit in 2014, saying her son was 15 years old – the age she initially remembered when she went to the mansion – and a wave of other women accusing Cosby of similar actions brought fresh trauma because what she went through as a teenager. .
Huth’s attorney, Nathan Goldberg, told a jury of nine women and three men during Wednesday’s closing debate that “my client deserves to have Mr. Cosby held accountable for what he did.”
“Each of you knows deep down that Mr. Cosby raped Miss Hoot,” Goldberg said.
The majority of the jury apparently agreed, giving Huth the win in a trial that dragged on for eight years and overcame many obstacles just to face trial.
During her testimony, Cosby’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, constantly challenged Huth and Samuelson due to errors in detail in their accounts and similarities in reports, which the attorney said indicated coordination between the two women.
‘Donkey Kong protection
This included women speaking in pre-trial testimony and police interviews that Samuelson played Donkey Kong that day, the game came out only six years later.
Bonjean attached great importance to this, in what both sides came to call “Donkey Kong protection.”
Goldberg asked jurors to ignore the minor mistakes he said were inevitable in the 45-year-old stories and focus on the underlying issues behind the charges. He pointed out to the jury that, according to Samuelson, “games like Donkey Kongwhen she first mentioned it in her testimony.
Cosby’s lawyer began his closing arguments by saying, “It’s like Donkey Kong,” and ended by announcing “game over”.
Huth’s lawyer reacted with outrage at his rebuttal.
“It’s about justice!” he shouted, pounding on the podium. “We don’t want the end of the game! We need justice!”
The Associated Press doesn’t usually name people who say they’ve been sexually assaulted, unless they come forward publicly, as Huth did.