Bill Cosby sexually assaulted teenage girl Judy Huth at the Playboy Mansion in the mid-1970s, a civil jury ruled Tuesday in Santa Monica. The disgraced comedian, 84, was ordered to pay Huth $500,000.
In her civil suit, filed in 2014, Huth accused Cosby of giving her alcohol and taking her to the Playboy Mansion in 1975, when she was 16, with his hand down her pants. After saying she was on her period, she said he put her hand on his erect penis and masturbated him.
For the record:
5:10 p.m. June 21, 2022An earlier version of this article stated that Cosby was found guilty. He was found liable in this civil case.
Tuesday’s verdict comes nearly a year after Cosby was released from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his conviction in a separate case involving allegations of sexual assault. His trial against Huth, which began June 1 and lasted almost three weeks, was long delayed because of this criminal case, which began in 2017.
However, after Cosby was released from prison on June 30, 2021, the Huth case picked up steam again.
“First of all, we thank the jury for its verdict on the damages awarded to our client, Ms. Huth,” said Gloria Allred, one of Huth’s attorneys, in a statement to The Times. “The verdict is $500,000. Second, we thank our client, Judy Huth, for her courage and sacrifices to obtain justice in this case. We are honored to represent them. Third, I want to thank my partners Nathan Goldberg and John West for being outstanding trial counsel and trial counsel on this case, and I want the world to know that I feel blessed that they have both been my legal partners for so many decades.
“Fourth, I want to thank all the women who have spoken out over the years and refused to remain silent in the face of what they believed was injustice and sexual abuse at the hands of powerful men. The late United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, “Real change, lasting change, comes one step at a time.” Today, our client, Judy Huth, achieved real change by spending seven and a half years at a Step fought Bill Cosby and she proved by jury verdict that Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted her when she was underage and so he should be held accountable for what he did to her. “
On Monday, the jury reached nearly a full verdict in Huth’s lawsuit, but was returned to deliberations by Judge Craig D. Karlan. By the end of Friday’s court session, the jury had answered eight out of nine questions on the sentencing form. The only question that remains is whether Cosby should pay punitive damages for his alleged actions.
Karlan, who had promised a juror that she could leave after Friday for an earlier engagement when she agreed to serve, over objections from Cosby’s attorneys decided to enter the verdict on the questions the jury had answered, accept and read. But he had to change course when deputies from the Santa Monica courthouse showed up and asked him to vacate the courtroom. The courthouse has a required closing time of 4:30 p.m. as there is no budget for MPs overtime.
Karlan refused to ask the outgoing juror, who had been chosen as foreman, to return on Monday, so the jury had to start over with an alternate in her place.
Cosby did not attend or testify during the trial, although his video testimony played during the trial. The former ‘Cosby Show’ star, who was 78 at the time of the testimony, curtly replied “no” when asked whether or not he committed the alleged assault.
When asked if it was possible these things happened but Cosby couldn’t remember, Cosby also replied “no”.
“Why shouldn’t that be possible?” asked Huth’s attorney, Nathan Goldberg.
“Because,” Cosby replied, “the fact that this young lady says she told me she was 15.”
Huth, 64, took the stand on June 7 after Judge Karlan ordered her to testify.
“I had my eyes closed at the time,” Huth said in court. “I freaked out.”
Huth said that in the decades since the alleged attack, she has entered a dark period of isolation and depression, vacillating between abusive relationships that have further scarred her.
Still, she said her thoughts kept returning to the alleged assault by Cosby, especially when other women began accusing him of similar behavior.
Throughout the case, Cosby’s legal team had attempted to poke holes in Huth’s chronicle of alleged events by pointing out inconsistencies in ancillary details that were inaccurate. Huth had previously said the alleged incident happened in 1974 when she was 15 but then changed her story to say it happened in 1975 when she was 16.
When asked in court why she changed her story, Huth said she saw pictures of Cosby with a beard in 1975 that he didn’t have the year before. She also said she discovered the date of an issue of the National Enquirer that featured on the cover of actor Peter Lawford, whom she saw at the dinner table on the evening of the alleged incident.
Cosby’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, also explained to Huth why a number of life milestones failed to remind her of when the alleged attack took place, most notably Huth’s relationship status and when she became friends with Donna Samuelson, who she went to the Playboy Mansion with on the day of the alleged attack.
Huth shrugged off many of the questions, simply answering each question with a variation of “I was imprecise.”
At one point, Bonjean pointed out a discrepancy where photos of the playroom referenced by Huth showed a different layout than what Huth had described. On this and other challenges, Huth kept it short, answering many of Bonjean’s questions with “no” or “I don’t remember.”
Associated Press and Times contributor Christi Carras contributed to this report.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-06-21/bill-cosby-verdict-judy-huth-civil-trial Bill Cosby verdict: Jury orders comedian to pay $500,000