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The jury that convicted Bill Cosby at his sexual assault retrial said its decision was only influenced by what happened in court, and the youngest member of the panel said that the comedian’s own words sealed his fate.
Harrison Snyder said in an interview aired Monday on ABC’s Good Morning America that Cosby’s deposition — in which he admitted giving women drugs to have sex with them — was the evidence that made him believe Cosby was guilty.
“I think it was his deposition, really. Mr. Cosby admitted to giving these quaaludes to women, young women, in order to have sex with them,” Snyder said of a deposition that was part of a civil case brought by accuser Andrea Constand.
The 22-year-old said it “wasn’t an open-and-shut case” but that he had no doubt the jury made the right decision in convicting Cosby Thursday on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
The investigation into Cosby was reopened in July 2015 after a federal judge, acting on a request from the Associated Press, unsealed portions of Cosby’s deposition testimony from a civil lawsuit he settled with Constand in 2006 for $3.4 million. In the testimony, which was read to jurors at both trials, he described giving quaaludes to women before sex in the 1970s and his encounters with Constand, a Temple University women’s basketball administrator.
Snyder said he didn’t know much about the 80-year-old comedian before the trial and knew nothing of the allegations.
“I knew he was an actor, I knew he did The Cosby Show. I never watched The Cosby Show, I’m a little too young for that,” Snyder said.
Cosby is now a prisoner in his own suburban Philadelphia home and faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars as he awaits sentencing within the next three months. He has maintained his innocence. His publicist has declared his conviction a “public lynching,” and his lawyers have vowed to appeal.
NBC’s Today show reported Monday the Cosby jury issued a statement saying its decision was not influenced in any way by factors other than what was seen and heard in the courtroom. They said race and the #MeToo movement were never discussed.
“After thoughtful and meticulous consideration of the information and evidence provided to us, we came to our unanimous verdict,” the jury said in the statement. “Not once were race or the #MeToo movement ever discussed, nor did either factor into our decision, as implied in various media outlets.”
Prosecutor Kristen Feden told the Associated Press in an interview Saturday that in the tense moments before the jury convicted Cosby, she started to worry about the global implications if the #MeToo era’s first big trial went the other way.
“I felt like this verdict could dictate something more,” Feden said. “If they found him not guilty, I felt like they were feeding into every character assassination on sex crime victims.”
Cosby’s lawyers have vowed to appeal, but prosecutors said they are confident Cosby’s conviction will stand.
Two days after the conviction, law books and papers were still strewn on a long table in the war room where prosecutors plotted their strategy: leading off with an expert to educate the jury in victim behavior, successfully fighting to call five additional accusers and fending off the defense’s allegations that Constand was a scammer framing Cosby for a big payday.
The additional accusers allowed prosecutors to uncloak the man once revered as America’s Dad as a manipulative predator who used his built-in trust to trick women into taking powerful intoxicants so he could violate them. One woman pointedly called Cosby a “serial rapist,” and another asked him through her tears, “You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?”
Feden, who worked out a deal to stay as a special prosecutor after leaving for private practice, said she felt “that needed to be exposed.”
“That was the most sickening part of this all,” she said. “When people in positions of power use that power to victimize people, I find that to be beyond disgusting.”
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, as Constand has done.
The jurors in Cosby’s trial released a statement to the Associated Press on Monday, explaining their conviction. Read it in full below.
“In a country built on a profound belief in the power of its citizens, few duties are more important than those of individuals asked to serve as fair and impartial jurors in our great justice system. Guided by the essential notion that all men are innocent until proven guilty, we, the jurors of the recent Cosby trial, are proud to say — with 100% conviction — that each of us performed our duties with firm adherence to these sacred principles.
“After thoughtful and meticulous consideration of the information and evidence provided to us, we came to our unanimous verdict. Our decision was not influenced in any way by factors other than what we heard and saw in the courtroom. Not once were race or the #metoo movement ever discussed, nor did either factor into our decision, as implied in various media outlets. Simply put, we were asked to assess the credibility of (accuser Andrea) Constand’s account of what happened to her, and each one of us found her account credible and compelling. Our request for review of certain evidence during the deliberation process was a matter of due diligence; our thorough discussion of the evidence led to a decision with which we felt certain, but our collective commitment to the process called for even further confirmation. After that second review, we had absolutely no reservations.
“We used our diverse backgrounds and life experiences to broaden our individual perspectives for a thorough understanding of all that was presented. Each of us spoke of the weight of our responsibility — we understood the consequences to human lives, to an American icon, and to all who are victims — and we knew we needed to be comfortable with our decisions in order to be able to sleep at night with clear consciences. Each of us is walking away with that sense of peace, knowing we performed our duty in the manner it deserved.
“The burden of sequestration for this Philly-spirited team of 18 was made lighter by the camaraderie of the group and the support and graciousness of the sheriffs and other court staff. These tireless stewards of the court went so far as to give those of us missing our four-legged family members a little taste of home with daily visits from Turks, the comfort dog who responds to commands that are spelled out and who made some very long days just a little bit more comfortable. While their work is serious, those who serve in the Montgomery County courts ensure that all called to play a role in that work are treated with respect and kindness.
“While we are honored to have taken on this unique and important task, and are proud of the job we did, we are each anxious to return to our normal lives and ask for privacy and respect as we turn our attention back to the colleagues, friends, and family whose sacrifices in our absence were, in many cases, larger than our own. Thank you to all who contributed, directly or indirectly, to this right and just outcome.”
May 1, 7:40 a.m. Updated with the jurors’ statement to the Associated Press.
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