After a civil jury found that Bill Cosby sexually abused Judy Huth in 1975 when she was a 16-year-old minor, Cosby’s team is calling the outcome an “astonishing victory,” yet pledging to appeal the $500,000 verdict.
“Yesterday actor and comedian Bill Cosby was awarded an astonishing victory by jurors in a civil trial brought by Judy Huth,” reads a statement from Cosby’s spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt. “The jurors decided to grant Judy Huth with a $500,000 verdict but voted 9-3 in favor of not rewarding Ms. Huth any punitive damages.”
The trial revolved around claims made by Huth, now 64, who accused Cosby of luring her and a friend to the Playboy mansion. Huth alleged that Cosby got her alone in a bedroom, pulled down his sweatpants and then grabbed her hand and used it to masturbate himself. On Tuesday, the jury found Cosby liable of sexually abusing Huth as a teen, but did not award her punitive damages.
Cosby’s spokesperson says his attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, will appeal the verdict and Huth will “never receive a payday.”
“Within a few weeks, Attorney Jennifer Bonjean will be in Judge Craig D. Karlan court to appeal the $500,000 verdict, which means that Ms. Huth will never receive a payday from Mr. Cosby and her estimated mounting legal bills ($3 million plus dollars) with Allred, Maroko & Goldberg will be outstanding for many years to come,” the statement continues. “If the jurors had awarded punitive damages to Judy Huth it would have been in the range of $10 million plus dollars, which would have been a devastating loss to our legal efforts and the Cosby family.”
Huth is represented by high-powered attorney and women’s rights activist, Gloria Allred, who hailed the verdict as a win toward “real change,” and told reporters outside the courthouse on Tuesday that Cosby “should be held and was held accountable for what he did to her.”
In response to Wyatt’s statement regarding Cosby’s “victory,” Allred says Cosby’s spokesperson is wrong.
“Mr. Cosby’s spokesperson appears to be trying to snatch victory from the jaws of Mr. Cosby’s significant defeat,” Allred tells Variety. “Ms. Huth has no legal bills for fees with my law firm. The $3 million legal bill that Mr. Wyatt cited appears to be a figment of his imagination. In the alternative, it may be that that the $3 million amount is what Mr. Cosby had to spend to hire countless lawyers over the years in his unsuccessful effort to defend himself from Ms. Huth’s lawsuit.”
Allred continues, making a reference to an old interview Cosby did with Oprah: “Many years ago, Mr. Cosby said on the news, ‘Believe a child when she says someone is fondling her.’ The jury in Ms. Huth’s case demonstrated that they believed her by awarding her $500,000 in compensatory damages. We are very proud of our client’s courage, and our victory over Bill Cosby.”
The question that would have triggered punitive damages asked the jurors whether Cosby acted with “malice, oppression or fraud.” During deliberations, this became a sticking point for the jury, which had trouble reaching an agreement over that particular question.
In his statement, Cosby’s spokesperson claims that Cosby spoke briefly with two jurors after the verdict, who told him, “You didn’t deserve to be in this court.” (Both jurors who Cosby’s rep claims were in communication with the comedian voted overwhelmingly in his favor on all questions, and did not agree with the majority of the jury on questions regarding Cosby’s conduct to be harmful or sexually offensive.)
“Mr. Cosby along with his team has always remained steadfast in his innocence and we never played in the sewer nor gutter; but most importantly, we stayed on the mountain top of ethics, integrity, truth and facts,” Cosby’s spokesperson says. “The Cosby’s are thankful to those particular jurors who removed their bias and ruled on the evidence and facts of this case.”