Bill Cosby sexually abused Judy Huss in 1975, jury finds in civil trial

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Jurors found in a civil trial Tuesday that Bill Cosby sexually abused a 16-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1975.

A Los Angeles County jury found in favor of Judy Huss, 64, and awarded her $500,000.

Jurors found that Cosby intentionally caused harmful sexual contact with Huth, that he had reason to believe she was under the age of 18, and that his behavior was motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in a minor.

The jury’s decision was a major legal defeat for the 84-year-old entertainer, once dubbed America’s father. He was released nearly a year after he was convicted and released for sexual assault in Pennsylvania. Huth’s lawsuit is one of the last remaining legal claims against him after his insurance company settled many others against his will.

Cosby did not appear at the trial or testify in person, but played a short clip of a 2015 video testimony for jurors in which he denied having any sexual contact with Huss. He went on to deny the allegation through his attorney and publicist.

After two days of deliberations on Friday, jurors have reached a conclusion on nearly every question on the verdict sheet, including whether Cosby abused Huth and whether she deserved damage. But the jury president was unable to remain in office due to personal commitments, and the jury had to start deliberating from scratch with alternate jurors on Monday.

Cosby’s attorneys agreed that Cosby met Huss and her high school friends in an April 1975 Southern California film and took them to the Playboy Mansion a few days later.

Huth’s friend Donna Samuelson, a key witness, was photographed at Huth and Cosby’s mansion, which featured prominently in the trial.

Huss testified that in a bedroom near the game room where the three were hanging out, Cosby tried to put his hand on her pants before exposing himself and forcing her to have sex.

Huth filed the lawsuit in 2014, saying her son, 15 — the age she initially remembers when she went to the mansion — and a wave of other women who have accused Cosby of similar behavior have brought new trauma to her teenage experience .

“My client should hold Mr Cosby accountable for what he did,” Huth’s lawyer Nathan Goldberg told a jury of nine women and three men in closing arguments on Wednesday.

“Each of you is aware that Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted Miss Huss,” Goldberg said.

The majority of jurors apparently agreed, allowing Huth to prevail in an eight-year lawsuit and overcome many hurdles to get to trial.

In their testimony, Cosby’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, has consistently questioned Huth and Samuelson’s inaccuracies in the details of their stories, as well as the similarities in the accounts that the attorneys say represent coordination between the two women.

That included women’s pretrial testimony and police interviews that Samuelson played Donkey Kong that day, a game that wasn’t released until six years later.

Bonjean took advantage of this, and both sides dubbed it “Donkey Kong Defense.”

Goldberg asked jurors to scrutinize the little mistakes he believed were inevitable in the story 45 years ago and focus on the main issues behind the charges. He pointed out to jurors that Samuelson said “Donkey Kong” when he first mentioned “Donkey Kong-like games” in his testimony.

Cosby’s lawyer said “just like Donkey Kong” in closing arguments, and finally declared “game over.”

Huss’ lawyer reacted angrily in his rebuttal.

“It’s about justice!” he yelled, pounding on the podium. “We don’t need the game over! We need justice!”

The Associated Press typically does not name people who say they have been sexually abused unless they come forward publicly, as Huss did.

AP entertainment writer Andrew Dalton contributed to this report.

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