Two weeks ago, a ruling came down in the criminal trial of Bill Cosby: Yes, excerpts from the 2005 deposition, in which Cosby said he obtained Quaaludes to use in his encounters with the young women he wanted to pursue sexually, would be admissible in trial.
So ended Cosby’s decade-long fight to keep that deposition hidden from view, stuck in a vault somewhere, away from the eyes of the public and a jury.
But for at least one juror from the retrial at which Cosby was just found guilty on all counts, it was this piece of evidence, above all others, that secured Cosby’s conviction.
“I think it was his deposition, really. Mr. Cosby admitted to giving these quaaludes to women, young women, in order to have sex with them,” juror Harrison Snyder said on Good Morning America.
Adding that this was not “an open and shut case,” the 22-year old said he is confident the jury made the right decision.
“Some have said that I made the right decision, and some people have said that they still think that he’s innocent,” he said. But to anyone who questions the verdict, which found Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault: “If you were there, you would say the same thing. You would say that he’s guilty.”
The deposition amounted to the closest thing to a confession anyone was likely to see from Cosby, who maintained his innocence even as his number of accusers climbed into well into the double-digits.
And, crucially, Cosby’s own words aligned with the narrative so many of these women described, including Andrea Constand — the woman whose allegations prompted this criminal investigation in the first place — as well as all of the five women who testified against Cosby at the trial. Each one said they lost consciousness almost immediately after being given a substance by Cosby — pills or a drink, presumably drugged — after which he sexually assaulted them.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 30, 2018
As ThinkProgress has previously reported, Cosby’s legal team tried to keep this deposition out of Cosby’s first trial last June, citing a deal between Cosby and the Montgomery County district attorney — an agreement for which there exists no written record and that, as it turns out, was unenforceable:
They claimed that then-D.A. Bruce Castor promised Cosby he would never be prosecuted in the Constand case and that this promise extended to all future holders of the district attorney’s office. That alleged agreement prompted Cosby’s candor in the 2005 deposition, Cosby’s team argued; the deal, which would help Constand’s civil suit, meant that the testimony could never be deployed in a criminal case against Cosby.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill, who presided over both the first trial and the retrial, ruled against the defense on this issue both times.
It will be telling to see what the rest of the jury — there were five women and seven men, and three jurors said they or a family member had been the victim of a sexual assault — feel the same way as this young, white, male juror, who said that it was Cosby’s words, rather than the words of his victims, that clinched his decision.
“In the deposition, he stated that he gave these drugs to other women,” Snyder said. “I don’t think it really necessarily mattered that these other five women were here, because he said it himself. That he used these drugs on other women.”
On Monday, the forewoman of the jury issued a statement asserting that its ruling was not influenced by race or the Me Too movement:
“After thoughtful and meticulous consideration of the information and evidence provided to us, we came to our unanimous verdict. Not once were race or the #metoo movement ever discussed, nor did either factor into our decision, as implied in various media outlets.”
For his part, Snyder said that, before the trial, he “I didn’t really even know about the #MeToo movement.” This made him a minority in the jury pool: Most of the jurors said they had heard of both the Me Too movement and the allegations against Cosby.
Snyder also said he was unfamiliar with the television show that vaulted Cosby to the status of, as Janice Dickinson put it on the stand, “America’s dad.”
“I knew he was an actor, I knew he did the ‘Cosby Show.’ I never watched the ‘Cosby Show,’ I’m a little too young for that,” Snyder said.
Cosby is awaiting sentencing from his Cheltenham home, where he sexually assaulted Andrea Constand and where he is currently under house arrest. His lawyers have said they intend to appeal the verdict. Aggravated indecent assault is a felony under Pennsylvania law; each count carries a maximum ten-year sentence.