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May 18, 2018

Judge releases names of Cosby jurors – with warning to the media

Courts Bill Cosby
04262018_Bill_Cosby_FIrst_Trial_USAT Ed Hille/The Philadelphia Inquirer/Pool Photo/via USA TODAY NETWORK

Bill Cosby, seen in this file photo during his sex assault case mistrial in June 2017, was found guilty on April 26 in the retrial of the case in Montgomery County Court in Norristown.

A Montgomery County judge on Friday released the names of the jurors that convicted Bill Cosby of sexual assault in April – but with a warning for the media.

In his memorandum and order, Judge Steven O’Neill said reporters could face criminal charges of trespassing or harassment if they repeatedly hound jurors who don't want to talk about the verdict. O'Neill released the names after what he described as a “cooling-off period” of three weeks to allow jurors to return to their personal lives after being sequestered during the trial.

O’Neill said he was bound to release them under a state Supreme Court ruling making them public under the First Amendment. A number of media organizations, including the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN, sued for access to the names. 

But as recently as Sunday, Mother's Day, reporters contacted six jurors by phone at their homes in an attempt to obtain interviews, the judge wrote.

In addition, O’Neill asked jury members not to divulge what their fellow jurors said during deliberations.

Days after the April 26 verdict, the jury issued a collective statement saying it had “absolutely no reservations” about convicting the Cosby of aggravated indecent assault in the case brought by accuser Andrea Constand. The jurors said they found testimony about Cosby drugging and molesting her at his Cheltenham Township home in January 2004 “credible and compelling.” They also requested privacy.

Cosby is likely to face a prison sentence of up to 10 years in prison on the three counts. He awaits a two-day Sept. 24 sentencing hearing while on house arrest.

By order of O’Neill, Cosby will be fitted with a GPS monitoring bracelet. He needs permission to leave the home, and only then to visit with lawyers or doctors.