Jurors in a civil trial on Tuesday found that American comedian Bill Cosby sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl at the Playboy mansion in 1975, the Associated Press reported. The Los Angeles County jury passed the verdict in favor of Judy Huth, now 64, and awarded her $500,000. The jury found that Cosby intentionally caused harmful sexual contact with Hoth, that he reasonably believed she was under 18, and that his behavior was motivated by an abnormal or abnormal sexual interest in a minor.
Cosby met Hoth and her high school friend on a Southern California movie set in April 1975, then took them to the Playboy mansion a few days later, his attorney agreed. Huth’s friend Donna Samuelson, the lead witness, took pictures at Huth’s mansion and Cosby, who loomed large at the trial.
The jury’s decision is a major legal defeat for the 84-year-old artist who was once hailed as the “Father of America”. It comes nearly eleven months after he was released from prison when a Pennsylvania appeals court overturned his criminal conviction for sexual assault. Hoth’s lawsuit was one of the last remaining legal cases against him after his insurance company settled several others against his will.
Cosby did not attend the trial or testify in person, but short clips from the 2015 video were played for jurors, in which he denied any sexual contact with Huth. He continues to deny the claim through his lawyers and publicists.
The jurors have already reached conclusions on nearly every question in the verdict’s form, including whether Cosby has offended Huth and whether she deserves compensation, after two days of deliberation on Friday. But the former jury juror couldn’t work any more due to a personal commitment, and the jury had to start deliberating from scratch with a replacement juror on Monday.
Hoth testified that in a bedroom adjacent to a playroom where the three were lounging, Cosby tried to get his hand on her pants, then exposed himself and forced her to perform a sexual act.
Huth filed her lawsuit in 2014, saying that her son turned 15 the age she initially remembered when she went to the mansion and that a wave of other women accusing Cosby of similar acts brought new trauma to what she went through as a teenager.
Huth’s attorney, Nathan Goldberg, told the jury of nine women and three men during closing arguments Wednesday that my client deserves to hold Mr. Cosby accountable for what he did. Each of you knew in your heart, Goldberg said, that Mr. Cosby had sexually assaulted Miss Hoth.
The majority of the jurors apparently agreed, giving Hoth a victory in a lawsuit that lasted eight years and overcame many hurdles just to bring him to trial.
The biggest challenge, for both sides, was to present evidence and testimony to the jury based on events from nearly 50 years ago. Several visitors to the Playboy Mansion and others who may have witnessed have died, including Playboy magazine founder and former mansion owner Hugh Hefner, although he gave an affidavit before his death in 2017.
(With input from The Associated Press)