“American dad” Bill Cosby is set to go back on trial in less than 3 months. The retrial is as a result of a mistrial in which jurors were deadlocked on the final decision on whether to convict or acquit Bill Cosby on charges of drugging and subsequently sexually assaulting a woman, Andrea Constand in 2004.
The mistrial was declared in June 2017, months before the famous Harvey Weinstein scandal. The new trial is now set to happen in a different climate with more people expressing sympathy for sexually assaulted women. The # MeToo campaign has also continued to gain traction and greatly contributed in the seismic shift in opinion against more powerful and famous men. Most of the accused men such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin spacey have gone forward to lose their jobs, book deals, and TV shows.
Interestingly, Bill Cosby might even be more concerned with the shift in climate. After shaking a reporters hand outside a Philadelphia restaurant this Wednesday, Cosby is said to have quipped, “please don’t put me on MeToo.”
The former TV star has a new legal team in place to face this challenge which may be a key determinant in how the case goes.
In the first trial, lawyers painted a picture of a secret romantic relationship between the accused and the complainant. Andrea is also said to have made numerous calls to Bill Cosby even after the alleged sexual misconduct.
In cases such as these, primary evidence is mostly testimony-based with its credibility measured by the credibility of the witness.
Cosby’s likability was also a factor in the first trial. It may have endeared him to some jurors while the publicity raised by the case made it hard to find unbiased jurors. These led to juror selection being moved from his hometown of Philadelphia to Pittsburgh after the defense relayed their fears.
It will be difficult to find another 12 jurors as most people self-disqualify by claiming the climate does not allow for full fairness. Others may also feel that the allegations are targeting men unjustly.