A jury weighing the fate of comedian Bill Cosby in his sexual assault trial remained deadlocked Thursday night ending a fourth day of deliberations without a resolution.
Around 8:45 p.m., Common Pleas Judge Scott O'Neill told the jurors to head home for the night and return Friday morning to continue discussing the case.
Cosby smiled, but didn't comment as he left the Norristown, Pennsylvania courthouse, he and his entourage's path lit by the glow of TV camera lights.
Earlier in the day, the jury told O'Neill they could not come to a unanimous decision on any of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault levied against Cosby. He told them to keep on trying, sending the talks into the night. So far, they've logged 40 hours and 26 minutes of deliberations, county officials said.
O'Neill also denied a defense mistrial motion after the jury's revelation.
Cosby, 79, is accused of drugging and molesting former Temple University women's basketball staffer Andrea Constand during a 2004 encounter at the comedian's Elkins Park mansion. The case has destroyed Cosby's once good-guy, All-American dad reputation.
Not long after the jury spoke to the judge Thursday afternoon, Cosby's chief accuser Andrea Constand took to Twitter for a rare public statement. Although you can't make her out clearly in the short video, she's seen tossing a miniature basketball through a hoop as the words "Always Follow Through" come into focus. Perhaps a hopeful nudge that the jury will keep at it until they arrive at a verdict.
The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office confirmed to NBC10 Philadelphia that the account belongs to Constand and that the shot took place in a secured hallway outside DA Kevin Steele's office.
Outside the courthouse, a circus ensued after news of the deadlock filtered out. Tempers flared among Cosby accusers after the actor's fans celebrated the jury's trouble. Lili Barner, who accused Cosby of drugging and raping her, verbally sparred with his supporters. Later, a drumline led activists on a march along the courthouse's apron.
Once a jury is told to return to deliberations, they typically take a few more hours to try and reach a consensus, retired New Jersey Superior Court Judge Michael Donio said. This jury took much longer.
Donio said in his experience, a consensus is only reached about 20 to 25 percent of the time.
The sequestered jurors from western Pennsylvania have appeared increasingly tired and upset after deliberating late into the night the past four days. Some jurors looked defeated as the judge ordered them to continue deliberating. One, more upbeat, nodded along.
Constand, 44, says Cosby gave her pills that made her woozy, then violated her. His lawyer says Cosby and Constand were lovers sharing a consensual moment of intimacy.
Cosby's spokesman maintained the impasse showed that jurors doubted Constand's story.
"They're conflicted about the inconsistencies in Ms. Constand's testimony," spokesman Andrew Wyatt said. "And they're hearing Mr. C.'s testimony and he's extremely truthful. And that's created this doubt."
Constand's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Dozens of women have come forward to say Cosby had drugged and assaulted them, but this was the only case to result in criminal charges.
The 12-member jury must come to a unanimous decision to convict or acquit. If the panel can't break its impasse, O'Neill could declare a hung jury and a mistrial. In that case, prosecutors would get four months to decide whether they want to retry the TV star or drop the charges.
Penn law professor David Rudovsky, a criminal lawyer in Philadelphia, said Thursday that the stalemate didn't surprise him, given the nature of the case. He added a hung jury would be a victory for Cosby.
"In most criminal cases, anything short of a conviction is a win for the defense," said Rudovsky, who isn't involved in the case.
"It doesn't surprise me that this jury is split. The prosecution had a strong case, but the defense was able to show a lot of inconsistencies."
The jury has paused deliberations a half-dozen times to revisit key evidence, including Cosby's decade-old admissions that he fondled Constand after giving her pills.
Each of the counts against Cosby carries a maximum 10-year prison term, though the counts could be merged at sentencing if he is convicted.
The case has already helped demolish his image as America's Dad, cultivated during his eight-year run as kindly Dr. Cliff Huxtable on the top-rated "The Cosby Show" in the 1980s and '90s.
Cosby has wavered between stoic and smiling as he awaits his fate, but he gave a brief thumbs-up as jurors listened to a court reporter reread his January 2005 police interview.
In it, he claimed Constand showed no ill effects from the 1½ Benadryl pills he gave her to help her relax and that she never objected to his behavior during the encounter.
Constand testified she was paralyzed by the pills and unable to fight Cosby off.
NBC10 does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.