Bill Cosby denied retrial of woman’s sexual abuse suit

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — A judge has denied a new trial for Bill Cosby in a Riverside County woman’s lawsuit, in which a jury found that the comedian sexually abused her when she was a teenager at the Playboy Mansion in the 1970s and awarded her $500,000 in damages.

What You Need To Know

  • The suit was brought in December 2014 by Judy Huth
  • The judge heard arguments Friday and took the retrial motion under submission
  • He also rejected Cosby’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict
  • Bill Cosby’s attorneys had asked the judge to set aside the judgment entered July 12 in favor of the 64-year-old Huth

“(Cosby) has failed to establish he received an unfair trial or that insufficient evidence existed to establish his liability for plaintiff’s harm,” Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Craig D. Karlan wrote in his ruling Tuesday. The suit was brought in December 2014 by Judy Huth.

Huth’s lawyers produced evidence that Cosby “intended to engage in sexual contact” with Huth — knowing she was a minor at the time — and also presented the testimony of others to corroborate the plaintiff’s story, Karlan further wrote.

The judge heard arguments Friday and took the retrial motion under submission. He also rejected Cosby’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

Cosby’s attorneys had asked Karlan to set aside the judgment entered July 12 in favor of the 64-year-old Huth. The Canyon Lake woman testified that Cosby fondled her and forced her to perform a sex act on him while visiting the mansion in 1975, when she was 16 years old. The jury reached its verdict on June 21.

During trial, Cosby’s attorneys denied any wrongdoing and pointed to inconsistencies in Huth’s story, including a recent change in the year she claimed the attack happened. In their court papers, the comedian’s legal team argued that the grounds for the retrial included that the comedian received an unfair trial, that there was insufficient evidence to justify the verdict and that errors in law occurred.

Jurors in Huth’s case deliberated for roughly four days and initially announced they had reached a partial verdict, but before the judge could have it read, he had to dismiss the jury for the weekend because of mandatory courthouse closing time.

So, the jury had to come back the following Monday and begin its deliberations anew with one alternate member, because Karlan had earlier agreed to allow one juror to be dismissed due to a prior commitment. The panel reached a verdict the next day.

During the nearly two-week trial, attorneys for Huth said Cosby — who is now 85 and legally blind — assaulted her in a game room at the mansion. Attorneys said Cosby escorted Huth and her then-17-year-old friend, Donna Samuelson, to the mansion after he met them while in the area to film the movie “Let’s Do It Again” with Jimmie Walker and Sidney Poitier.

The case was the first sex abuse civil trial against Cosby to reach a jury. Cosby did not attend the proceedings.

His attorneys staunchly denied any wrongdoing by the comedian, noting Huth and Samuelson spent as many as 12 hours at the Playboy Mansion after the alleged assault. They also argued Huth originally claimed the attack happened in 1974 when she was 15, then changed her story to say it occurred a year later.