Bill Cosby lost a case about sex assault and now has to pay damages.
Judy Huth said that Bill Cosby molested her at the Playboy Mansion when she was 16 years old in 1975. A jury in California agreed with her.
On Tuesday, a jury decided that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted Judy Huth in 1975, when she was 16 and went to the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles with him.
The jury’s decision hurt the man’s reputation again. He used to be one of America’s most popular entertainers, but that all changed when dozens of women came forward with sexual misconduct claims against him.
As part of their decision, the jury gave Ms. Huth $500,000 in damages to make up for what happened, but they did not give her any punitive damages.
Aside from being important to Ms. Huth, who first came forward with her claims in 2014, the verdict gave many of the women who have accused Mr. Cosby of similar abuse for years a sense of closure. After Mr. Cosby’s criminal conviction in the Andrea Constand case was overturned last year on due process grounds, the Huth case gave them a second chance to get public support for their stories.
Many of the accusers could not file their own lawsuits because they did not come forward when they said Mr. Cosby had hurt them. But Ms. Huth’s lawsuit could go forward because the jury agreed that she was a minor at the time and because California law gives people who were abused as children more time to file a civil claim.
After the jury was told the verdict and sent home, Ms. Huth hugged her lawyers.
Ms. Huth said, “I feel good, and I feel like I was right.”
The verdict was a bad setback for Mr. Cosby. When he got out of prison after almost three years, he said that the appeals court’s decision was a full exoneration. This was an exaggeration, and it is now overshadowed by a finding that shows he used his fame to take advantage of women.
Mr. Cosby has always denied what all of the women have said and said that if he had sexual encounters with anyone, they were always on their own terms. He used his right under the Fifth Amendment not to testify against himself and did not show up at the trial. But parts of his videotaped deposition from several years ago were played for the jury, and they heard him say that he didn’t remember ever meeting Ms. Huth.
The 12-person jury did not all agree on its verdict, so it took a vote of 9 to 3 to give Ms. Huth the damages. One juror, Aldo Reyna, 25, talked about why he decided in her favor after the jury was sent home.
In an interview, he said, “Given the time frame, you have to take someone’s word for it.” “You can either believe them or not. On the stand, I believed her.”
Jennifer Bonjean, a lawyer for Mr. Cosby, said that the jury’s decision not to give him punitive damages was a small victory.
“We do feel some relief,” she said. “Finding out that there were no punitive damages was a big win for us.”
Andrew Wyatt, who works as a spokesman for Mr. Cosby, said that the entertainer would file an appeal.
Mr. Wyatt said in a statement that Mr. Cosby still believes he is innocent and will fight hard against these false accusations so that he can get back to spreading happiness, joy, and laughter around the world.
The jury started thinking about the case on Thursday after hearing testimony for 10 days. During that time, Ms. Huth, who is now 64, talked about how a chance meeting with Mr. Cosby while he was making a movie in a local park led her to a bedroom in the Playboy Mansion that was far away from the rest of the house. In emotional testimony, she said that a famous comedian whose comedy records her father bought and whom she once admired tried to put his hand down her pants and then forced her to do a sex act on him.
“At that time, I had my eyes closed,” Ms. Huth said in court. “I was going crazy.”
She said that she was angry because she felt like she had been tricked. I was disappointed. I felt bad.”
The Playboy meeting happened a few days after Ms. Huth and her friend Donna Samuelson met Mr. Cosby while he was filming a scene for the movie “Let’s Do It Again” in a park near their homes in San Marino, California.
Ms. Huth and Ms. Samuelson said that a few days later, Mr. Cosby invited them to his tennis club and then to a house where he was staying. There, they played billiards, and he gave them alcohol and got them to follow him in their car to the Playboy Mansion, where he told them to say they were 19 if anyone asked.
Mr. Cosby, who is 84 years old, denied Ms. Huth’s claims, and his lawyer, Ms. Bonjean, called her story “a complete and utter lie.” Even though the jury saw photos that Ms. Samuelson took of Mr. Cosby and Ms. Huth at the Playboy Mansion, Mr. Cosby said in his deposition that he takes pictures with a lot of people, and his lawyer suggested that Ms. Huth made up the assault and worked with her friend to do so in order to make money.
Ms. Bonjean pointed out that, according to Ms. Huth, she had stayed at the mansion for hours after what she called a “callous molestation,” swimming in the pool and ordering drinks. She questioned Ms. Huth’s explanation for why she hadn’t talked about the incident in the months and years afterward. She wanted to know if Ms. Huth had really forgotten about a terrible event or if she was just making an accusation to join the other people who were saying Mr. Cosby had done something wrong at the time.
Ms. Huth said that she had just forgotten about the traumatic event for many years.
She said, “It’s like trash.” “You make a hole and put garbage in it.”
The jury found in favor of Ms. Huth. But it took a long time for the jury to come to a decision. During that time, they asked a lot of questions to help them figure out how to read the questions on the verdict sheet they were given. After the second day of deliberations, the jury forewoman had to leave. This made things even more complicated. The panel, which said on Friday that it was almost done making a decision, had to get a new member and was told to start over.
As the trial went on, Mr. Wyatt criticized the judge and Gloria Allred, one of Ms. Huth’s lawyers, more and more. Mr. Wyatt said that the judge had been unfair to Ms. Huth, and he was upset when Ms. Allred brought up Juneteenth in court and said that she was using the memory of “enslaved people” to help a case against Mr. Cosby, whom he called “Black America’s Icon.”
After the verdict, Ms. Allred told Ms. Huth she was proud of her for sticking with the case for so long.
Ms. Allred said, “She has shown so much courage and given up so much to get justice.” “She really changed things. She battled Bill Cosby and beat him.”
Ms. Huth’s case was the first civil case in which Mr. Cosby was charged with sexual assault. He had been sued by other women, and many of them said he had slandered them. His lawyers told them that their claims were made up. Mr. Cosby’s former insurance company agreed to 10 of the settlements over his objections, his spokesman said.
Ms. Huth’s case was mostly put on hold while Pennsylvania prosecutors went after Mr. Cosby on criminal charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted a former Temple University employee named Andrea Constand.
But in 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his conviction in that case. The court said that Mr. Cosby should not have been charged in the case because a previous prosecutor had agreed not to charge him.
Lili Bernard, an actor and visual artist, filed the last civil case against him last year. She accused him of giving her drugs and sexually assaulting her at a hotel in Atlantic City when she was 26 and they were both on drugs. Mr. Cosby has said that she is lying, and the case is just getting started.
Ms. Bernard was one of several women who have said that Mr. Cosby sexually abused them and who went to the trial in Santa Monica to support Ms. Huth. She said the verdict was great and that it “went way beyond Cosby survivors.”
She said, “Judy Huth is a hero.” “Her courage made other people find their own voices.”