SANTA MONICA, CA –
Judges at a civil trial on Tuesday found that Bill Cosby sexually abused a 16-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1975.
A Los Angeles County jury ruled in favor of Judy Huth, now 64, and awarded her $500,000.
“It was torture,” Huth said of the seven-year legal battle. “To be ripped apart, you know, thrown under the bus and back. This, to me, is a big win.”
The jurors found that Cosby knowingly engaged in harmful sex with Huth, that he believed she was under 18, and that his behavior was the result of unnatural or unusual sexual preference. for minors.
The jury’s decision is a major legal defeat for the 84-year-old entertainer once hailed as America’s father. It comes almost a year after his Pennsylvania sex assault conviction was announced and he was released from prison. Huth’s case is one of the last remaining legal proceedings against him after his insurance company settled many others against his will.
Cosby did not attend the trial or testify in person, but short clips from the 2015 deposition video were played to jurors in which he denied any sexual contact with Huth. He continues to deny the allegation through his lawyer and journalist.
Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said they would appeal and he insisted they won because Huth failed to win damages.
The jurors reached conclusions on nearly every question in their ruling form, including whether Cosby abused Huth and whether she deserved damages, after two years. consideration day on Friday. But the presiding judge could not serve further because of personal commitments, and the jury must begin the deliberation from scratch with a replacement juror on Monday.
Cosby’s attorneys agree that Cosby met Huth and her high school friend on a set in Southern California in April 1975, then took them to Playboy Mansion a few days later.
Donna Samuelson, Huth’s friend, an important witness, posed for pictures at Huth and Cosby’s mansion, which was huge at the trial.
Huth testified that in a bedroom adjoining a game room where the three were hanging out, Cosby tried to get his hands down her pants, then exposed herself and forced her to perform sex acts.
Huth filed the lawsuit in 2014, saying her son turned 15 – the age she initially remembers when she arrived at the villa – and that another wave of women accusing Cosby of similar behavior had brought new trauma for what she’s been through. a teenager.
Huth’s attorney, Nathan Goldberg, told a jury of nine women and three men during arguments that ended Wednesday that “my client deserves Mr Cosby to be held accountable for what he did. he did.”
“Every single one of you knows that Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted Miss Huth,” Goldberg said.
The majority of jurors apparently agreed, giving Huth the victory in an eight-year lawsuit and overcoming numerous obstacles just to get to trial.
During their testimony, Cosby’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean repeatedly challenged Huth and Samuelson about the detailed flaws in their stories, and the similarity in the narrative that the attorney said demonstrates a synergy between the two. woman.
This included women who said in pre-test depositions and police interviews that Samuelson played Donkey Kong that day, a game that wasn’t released until six years later. .
Bonjean did much of this, in what both sides called “the Donkey Kong defense.”
Goldberg asked jurors to look in detail at the minor flaws he said were inevitable in the 45-year-old stories and focus on the key issues behind the charges. He pointed out to jurors that Samuelson said “games like Donkey Kong” when she first mentioned it in her sentence.
Attorney Cosby began his argument by saying, “It’s like Donkey Kong,” and ended by declaring, “game over.”
Huth’s attorney reacted with outrage while denying.
“This is about justice!” he shouted, banging on the podium. “We don’t need the end game! We need justice!”
The Associated Press usually doesn’t name people who say they’ve been sexually abused unless they’ve made it public, as Huth has said.
AP Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton contributed to this report.