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No verdict from Cosby jury

The jury in Bill Cosby's sexual assault case ended a marathon first day of deliberations without reaching a verdict Wednesday as his lawyers came under heavy criticism for what some called a blatant attempt to "victim-shame" the parade of women who have levelled accusations against the 80-year-old comedian.

In the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era, the panel of seven men and five women began weighing charges that Cosby drugged and molested a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home 14 years ago. He says his encounter with Andrea Constand, a Toronto native and former Temple University women's basketball executive, was consensual.

The jury worked more than 10 hours before calling it a night late Wednesday. Deliberations resume Thursday.

"Your mind is done. You're exhausted," said Judge Steven O'Neill, sending them back to their hotel.

Trying to keep him out of prison, Cosby's lawyers launched a withering attack on Constand and five other women who told the jury that the former TV star had drugged and assaulted them, too.

Defence attorney Kathleen Bliss chastised Constand for "cavorting around with a married man old enough to be her grandfather." She derided the other women as home-wreckers and suggested they made up their stories in a bid for money and fame.

She questioned the "personal morality" of one accuser and called another, model Janice Dickinson, a "failed starlet" and "aged-out model" who "sounds as though she slept with every man on the planet."

And she slammed the #MeToo movement itself, calling Cosby its victim and likening it to a witch hunt or a lynching.

Critics said the defence team went too far.

"They're playing on the same old myths that have been protecting perpetrators for centuries," said Kristen Houser of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. She said the defence's closing argument was filled with "rampant and ingrained" misconceptions about sexual assault and victim behaviour.

"It was not only an attack on these six accusers," Houser said, "it was a verbal slap to survivors all across this country."



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