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What Happens Next With Cosby Sex Assault Case?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Bill Cosby's first criminal trial on sexual assault charges ended last week in a mistrial. Cosby was not acquitted, but a "hopelessly deadlocked" jury could not reach a verdict. While speculation on why the jury couldn't come to consensus on Cosby's guilt ranged from pretrial rulings on evidence to jury instructions from the judge -- all while taking Cosby's fame and the litany of assault allegations into account -- many are wondering what happens next in the case.

Here's a look at some of those possibilities.

Mistrial to Next Trial

Because Cosby's wasn't found not guilty, prosecutors are free to try the case again. (Double jeopardy only applies if there is a verdict in the case.) But how would another trial be different from this one? First, as the Washington Post reports, the case could be tried in a different county, constituting a different jury pool. While selecting jurors unfamiliar with the case or without their minds already made would be difficult in any locale, it won't probably be any easier with the added news coverage of the first trial and mistrial.

Second, the evidence may change. The trial court's decision to bar the testimony of 13 other Cosby accusers certainly had an effect on the first trial, as the Hollywood Reporter's Eriq Gardner speculates, but prosecutors may need to appeal that decision before a retrial or instead of one, as they are likely to be stuck with the same judge.

Strategy and Surprise

Both sides are likely to switch up their tactics in another trial, but to whose advantage that will be is anyone's guess. While some fall on the side that the prosecution pulled out all of its evidence and will have little new to offer in a second go-round, others say their witnesses, having already been through the gauntlet of cross-examination, may be even better prepared. And as some observers contend that defense attorneys are "one-trick ponies," this particular defense team didn't offer much in the way of surprise during the first trial: the prosecution called almost a dozen witnesses for a week's worth of testimony, while the defense called just one witness and rested after 10 minutes.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele was adamant about re-trying Cosby and optimistic about his chances. Whether the outcome will be different is anyone's guess.

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