It’s been almost a year to the day since comedian Bill Cosby was freed from prison when his sexual assault conviction was overturned. In 2018, he was found guilty of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand at his home in 2004, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated the conviction finding the prosecutor who brought the case was bound by his predecessor’s agreement not to charge the actor. Cosby has maintained his innocence and denies sexually assaulting any woman.
Now, it seems like another jury has found Cosby liable in another sexual abuse-related case.
A California jury has found that Cosby sexually assaulted a then-teenager, Judy Huth at the Playboy Mansion in 1975 when she was just 16. Although Cosby’s been accused of sexual misconduct by 60 women, this was the first civil case to reach trial. Cosby, who denies a sexual encounter occurred, did not attend the trial in Santa Monica.
The verdict was read in a Santa Monica, California, court room on Tuesday after the jury began deliberating on Thursday, per The New York Times and the Associated Press.
Huth, now 64 was awarded $500,000 in damages, and though Cosby’s legal team was in attendance on Tuesday, the former actor was not in court as the verdict was read, according to Deadline.
According to Tuesday’s verdict, jurors believe Cosby intentionally caused harmful sexual contact, that he reasonably believed Huth was under 18, and that the actor was driven by unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in a minor, according to the Associated Press. While many may see this verdict as a setback for the once-beloved comedian, his spokesperson calls this a “huge victory.”
“This was a huge victory for us because they [were] looking for millions of dollars. That amount will not cover the legal bills and we will be appealing that matter. However, Mr. Cosby will not be paying punitive damages,” Andrew Wyatt tells Yahoo Entertainment.
Jurors began deliberating on Thursday. On Friday, a note was sent to the judge about a “personality issue” between two of the jurors that was making deliberations difficult. By the end of the day, jurors had answered eight of nine questions on their verdict form, but were stuck on whether Cosby acted with “malice, oppression or fraud,” which could trigger punitive damages. One of the 12 jurors was then excused due to a prior commitment the judge approved. An alternate juror took the person’s place and the group had to start from scratch on Monday. The jury remained stuck on the same question.
Huth testified that Cosby molested her inside a bedroom and forced her to perform a sex act on him. She said she met the entertainer when he was filming a scene for the movie Let’s Do It Again with Sidney Poitier. He invited her and one of her teenage friends to the Playboy Mansion. Cosby was a regular there as he was best friends with Hugh Hefner, who’s had his own #MeToo moment this past year. Cosby’s alleged predatory behavior at the mansion was featured in Secrets of Playboy.
According to Huth, she “was scared” when a then-37-year-old Cosby got her into a