Cosby Trial Ends in Swirl of Uncertainty but Campaigners See Encouraging Signs

The mistrial does not signal an end to Cosby’s legal woes. Immediately after Judge O’Neill declared a mistrial, Montgomery County district attorney Kevin Steele announced that his office would retry Cosby on the same charges. Furthermore, the prosecution’s doggedness has led some victims’ advocates to say the trial could encourage more victims of sexual assault to come forward. “Anyone who is in the position of having been victimized in a sexual violence case is going to feel encouraged by a guilty verdict and discouraged by a not guilty verdict,” said Teresa Garvey, a retired New Jersey prosecutor and an adviser to AEquitas, a group that assists prosecutors who are trying sex crimes. “But what I also saw on this case was a prosecution team that really went the last mile to support this victim.”


Prosecutors fought hard to keep the defense from interrogating Constand’s background, under Pennsylvania’s rape shield law, and called an expert who testified that Constand’s behavior after the alleged assault – her inconsistent memory, her delay in speaking to police – could be explained by the trauma of being assaulted. They also called a toxicologist to corroborate Constand’s testimony about the effects of the pills that Cosby gave her. “All of that evidence takes some of the burden off any victim that comes forward,” said Garvey. “When you know this is how your case is going to be handled – that the case is not going to rest entirely on your shoulders, it’s not going to be just a he-said, she-said – I think that’s going to be very encouraging for victims.”