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US Judge declares mistrial in Bill Cosby sexual assault case

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AFP, Norristown :
A US judge declared a mistrial Saturday in Bill Cosby's sexual assault case with the jury deadlocked on whether the disgraced star drugged and molested a woman in 2004, as prosecutors vowed to seek a retrial.
It was a stunning development-and a momentary victory-for the 79-year-old pioneering black entertainer who risked spending the rest of his life in prison if convicted of assaulting former university employee Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia home 13 years ago.
Prosecutors pledged to pursue a conviction, raising the prospect that the now frail and isolated comedian, once adored by millions as "America's Dad" but his career now in tatters, would be forced to return to court in a matter of months.
The trial has irrevocably damaged the legacy of Cosby, once a towering figure in US popular culture best known for his seminal role as a lovable father and obstetrician on hit 1984-92 TV series "The Cosby Show."
Free on a $1 million bail, Cosby-who says he is legally blind-hung his head and made no comment before leaving the court in the Philadelphia suburb of Norristown, escorted by his representatives.
Around 60 women have publicly accused the Emmy-winning actor in recent years of being a serial sexual predator, alleging that he drugged and assaulted them over a span of 40 years across the United States.
But Constand's allegations were the only criminal case brought against him as most of the alleged abuse happened too long ago to prosecute.
Her case was initially settled by a civil suit but re-opened in 2015, when Pennsylvania prosecutors claimed that new evidence had come to light.
'We're going to retry the case'
"We're going to retry the case," said Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele.
"There was no pause or hesitation about that, and we're moving forward," he told reporters.

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