SANTA MONICA, Calif. — A jury on Tuesday found that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted Judy Huth in 1975, when as a 16-year-old girl she accepted his invitation to affix him on the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.
The choice by the jury once more tarnished the fame of a person whose standing as one in all America’s most beloved entertainers dissolved as dozens of ladies got here forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct.
As a part of its decision, the jury awarded Ms. Huth $500,000 in compensatory damages, but declined to award punitive damages.
Beyond its significance to Ms. Huth, who first got here forward together with her accusations in 2014, the decision offered a level of satisfaction for lots of the women who for years have accused Mr. Cosby of comparable abuse. The Huth case, for them, offered a second likelihood at getting public vindication of their accounts after Mr. Cosby’s criminal conviction within the Andrea Constand case was overturned by an appellate panel last 12 months on due process grounds.
Lots of the accusers had been time-barred from filing their very own suits because that they had not come forward on the time once they said Mr. Cosby had attacked them. But Ms. Huth’s suit was in a position to move forward since the jury agreed she was a minor on the time, and California law extends the time-frame through which people molested as children can file a civil claim.
After the decision was announced, and the jury dismissed, Ms. Huth hugged her lawyers.
“I feel good, I feel vindicated,” Ms. Huth said.
The decision was a harmful setback for Mr. Cosby who, upon his release after serving nearly three years in prison, had promoted the appeals court decision as a full exoneration, an overstatement now overshadowed by a finding that reinforces a picture of him as a one who wielded his celebrity to make the most of women.
Mr. Cosby has consistently denied the accounts of the entire women, asserting that, if he had sexual encounters with anyone, it had at all times been consensual. He invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and didn’t attend the trial. But parts of his deposition, which was videotaped several years ago, were played for the jurors they usually heard him say he had no recollection of ever meeting Ms. Huth.
The 12-person jury was not unanimous in its findings and voted 9 to three to award Ms. Huth the compensatory damages. After the jury was dismissed, one juror, Aldo Reyna, 25, explained why he decided in her favor.
“Given the time-frame, you may have to go on any individual’s word,” he said in an interview. “Either you suspect them, otherwise you don’t. I believed her on the stand.”
Jennifer Bonjean, a lawyer for Mr. Cosby, claimed some victory within the proven fact that the jury had decided against awarding punitive damages.
“We do feel some relief,” she said. “Finding no punitive damages was a major win for us.”
A spokesman for Mr. Cosby, Andrew Wyatt, said the entertainer would appeal.
“Mr. Cosby continues to take care of his innocence,” Mr. Wyatt said in an announcement, “and can vigorously fight these false accusations, in order that he can get back to bringing the pursuit of happiness, joy and laughter to the world.”
The jury, which began deliberating Thursday, heard 10 days of testimony during which Ms. Huth, now 64, told of how a likelihood meeting with Mr. Cosby while he filmed a movie in a neighborhood park eventually led her to an isolated bedroom within the Playboy Mansion. In often emotional testimony, she described how a famous man she had once admired, whose comedy records her father collected, tried to place his hand down her pants after which forced her to perform a sex act on him.
“I had my eyes closed at that time,” Ms. Huth said in court. “I used to be freaking out.”
Afterward, she said, she was “mad — I felt duped, fooled. I used to be let down. I used to be hurt.”
The Playboy encounter occurred several days after Ms. Huth and a friend, Donna Samuelson, met Mr. Cosby as he filmed a scene for a movie, “Let’s Do It Again,” in a park in San Marino, Calif., not removed from their homes.
Ms. Huth and Ms. Samuelson testified that Mr. Cosby invited them several days later to his tennis club after which to a house where he was staying, where they played billiards, he gave them alcohol and got them to follow him of their automobile to the Playboy Mansion, where he told them to say they were 19 if anyone asked their age.
Mr. Cosby, 84, denied Ms. Huth’s allegations, together with his lawyer,Ms. Bonjean, describing her account as “an entire and utter fabrication.” Though the jury was shown photographs of Mr. Cosby with Ms. Huth on the Playboy Mansion, taken by Ms. Samuelson, Mr. Cosby said within the deposition that he takes pictures with loads of people and his lawyer suggested Ms. Huth had made up the assault and coordinated together with her friend to generate income.
Ms. Bonjean identified that Ms. Huth, by her own account, had spent hours on the mansion after what Ms. Huth had described as a callous molestation, swimming within the pool and ordering cocktails. And he or she challenged Ms. Huth’s explanation for why she had not spoken in regards to the episode within the months and years afterward, questioning whether Ms. Huth had really repressed a terrible experience or whether she simply got here forward with an accusation to affix others who were providing accounts of misconduct by Mr. Cosby at the moment.
Ms. Huth said she had simply buried the traumatic experience for years.
“It’s like trash,” she said. “You dig a hole and throw trash in it.”
The jury sided with Ms. Huth. But its decision got here after lengthy deliberations punctuated by multiple questions from jurors who sought guidance on find out how to interpret the language of questions on a verdict sheet they got as a guide. The method was further complicated when the jury forewoman needed to be excused after the second day of deliberations. The panel, which reported it was near a verdict on Friday, needed to tackle an alternate and was told to begin over.
Because the trial progressed, Mr. Wyatt increasingly criticized the judge and one in all Ms. Huth’s lawyers, Gloria Allred. Mr. Wyatt said the judge had unfairly favored Ms. Huth and he objected when Ms. Allred made an acknowledgment of Juneteenth in court, releasing an announcement that she was exploiting the memory of “enslaved people” at the same time as she helped a suit against Mr. Cosby, whom he called “Black America’s Icon.”
After the decision, Ms. Allred congratulated Ms. Huth on persevering through an extended legal battle.
“She has demonstrated a lot courage and made so many sacrifices to win justice,” Ms. Allred said. “She won real change. She fought Bill Cosby and won.”
Ms. Huth’s was the primary civil case accusing Mr. Cosby of sexual assault to succeed in trial. He had been sued by other women, lots of whom said he had defamed them after his legal team dismissed their allegations as fictions. Eleven civil cases resulted in settlements, with 10 of the settlements having been agreed to by Mr. Cosby’s former insurance company over his objections, his spokesman said.
Ms. Huth’s case had largely been placed on hold while prosecutors in Pennsylvania pursued Mr. Cosby on criminal charges that he had drugged and sexually assaulted Ms. Constand, a former Temple University worker.
But his 2018 conviction in that case was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which ruled that a nonprosecution agreement made by a previous prosecutor meant that Mr. Cosby mustn’t have been charged within the case.
One remaining civil case was filed last 12 months by Lili Bernard, an actor and visual artist, who accused him of drugging and sexually assaulting her at a hotel in Atlantic City in 1990, when she was 26. Mr. Cosby has denied her account, and the case continues to be in its early stages.
Ms. Bernard was one in all several women who’ve accused Mr. Cosby of abusing them sexually who attended the trial in Santa Monica on some days in support of Ms. Huth. She praised the decision, saying, it “goes way beyond Cosby survivors.”
“Judy Huth is a hero!” she said. “Her coming forward inspired others to search out their voices.”