SANTA MONICA – Lawyers for Bill Cosby have filed court papers stating they will ask for a retrial of a Riverside County woman’s lawsuit in which a jury found that the comedian sexually abused her when she was a teenager at the Playboy Mansion in the 1970s and awarded her $500,000 in damages.
In court papers brought Wednesday in Santa Monica Superior Court, Cosby’s attorneys ask Judge Craig Karlan to set aside the judgment entered July 12 in favor of 64-year-old Judy Huth of Canyon Lake, who testified that Cosby fondled her and forced her to perform a sex act on him while visiting the mansion in 1975, when she was 16 years old. The jury reached its verdict on June 21.
During trial, Cosby’s attorneys denied any wrongdoing and pointed to inconsistencies in Huth’s story, including a recent change in the year she claimed the attack happened. In their court papers, the comedian’s legal team states that the grounds for the retrial are “irregularity in the proceedings of the court, jury or adverse party,” jury misconduct, excessive damages, insufficient evidence to justify the verdict and errors in law.
Cosby’s lawyers also state they will file an alternative motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and that the deadline for hearing both motions is Sept. 13.
Jurors in Huth’s case deliberated for roughly four days and initially announced they had reached a partial verdict, but before the judge could have it read, he had to dismiss the jury for the weekend because of a mandatory courthouse closing time.
So, the jury had to come back the following Monday and begin its deliberations anew with one alternate member, because Karlan had earlier agreed to allow one juror to be dismissed due to a prior commitment. The panel reached a verdict the next day.
During the nearly two-week trial, attorneys for Huth said Cosby — who is now 84 and legally blind — assaulted her in a game room at the mansion. Attorneys said Cosby escorted Huth and her then-17-year-old friend, Donna Samuelson, to the mansion after he met them while in the area to film the movie “Let’s Do It Again” with Jimmie Walker and Sidney Poitier.
The case was the first sex abuse civil trial against Cosby to reach a jury. Cosby did not attend the proceedings.
Cosby’s attorneys staunchly denied any wrongdoing by the comedian, noting that Huth and Samuelson spent as many as 12 hours at the Playboy Mansion after the alleged assault. They also argued that Huth originally claimed the attack happened in 1974 when she was 15, then changed her story to say it occurred a year later.