Jurors have found that comedian Bill Cosby sexually abused a young girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1975, awarding $500,000 to his accuser following days of deliberation. A series of women have come forward with similar allegations in recent years, resulting in a 2018 prison sentence that was later overturned.
In a verdict reached on Tuesday, a civil jury in California agreed that Cosby, then 37 years old, intentionally engaged in “sexually offensive contact” with accuser Judy Huth, who was 16 at the time.
Now 64, Huth said she met Cosby in Los Angeles while he was filming a scene for the movie ‘Let's Do It Again,’ and that he later invited her and a friend to the Playboy Mansion, as the entertainer was then close with the late Playboy kingpin Hugh Hefner. She alleged Cosby gave her alcohol “as part of a game,” and proceeded to bring her to a bedroom, alone, where he forced her to perform a sexual act.
“Definitely forcefully. It was not what I wanted, at all. I had my eyes closed at that time. I was freaking out,” Huth told the jury of the encounter.
Not only did jurors find that Cosby intentionally caused harm to Huth, but that he was likely aware she was a minor at the time. Though he did not attend in person, the case marks the first civil suit against the comedian successfully brought to trial. He has been accused of various forms of sexual misconduct by at least 60 women.
Cosby’s legal team rejected the allegations, however, calling Huth’s story “a complete and utter fabrication.” They questioned why she remained at the mansion for several hours after the alleged assault, and suggested Huth was not credible, as she initially got the year of the incident wrong.
Though Cosby was ordered pay $500,000 in damages to Huth, his lawyers presented the outcome as a victory, noting that the accuser initially sought a far greater amount. They said he would refuse to pay the sum regardless, and vowed to appeal.
“This was a huge victory for us because they was [sic] looking for millions of dollars,” spokesman Andrew Wyatt told Fox News, adding “That amount will not cover the legal bills and we will be appealing that matter,” and that “Mr. Cosby will not be paying punitive damages.”
Huth, however, said she is “happy as can be” following the decision, telling Fox “Victory is right. Love it.”
Cosby, now 84 years old, was previously sentenced to up to 10 years in state prison on charges linked to drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004. After three years behind bars, his criminal conviction was overturned last year by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which found that the entertainer’s right to due process was violated during the case. Cosby has maintained his innocence and denies all allegations of misconduct.