The Montgomery County judge who presided over the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial took under advisement a request by media outlets to release the identities of the jurors who deadlocked in their deliberations.
Cosby faces a retrial on sex-assault charges against him, but the 12 Allegheny County residents who deadlocked and couldn't reach a unanimous verdict have the case legally behind them.
O'Neill said he understands the media's interest in the jurors' identities but he added he has an obligation to prosecutors and Cosby's defense team to ensure that a fair and impartial retrial can be had.
But the Philadelphia Media Network, publishers of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, sought the public release of the jurors' names and was joined by other media outlets, including ABC Inc., CNN, The New York Times and the Washington Post.
"O'Neill, who has already had the case for almost two years, sounded skeptical". O'Neill plans to hold the retrial within four months.
Constand, 44, of Toronto, accused the ageing comedian of drugging and molesting her at his home near Philadelphia in 2004, when she worked at his alma mater, Temple University.
Dozens of women have come forward to say he drugged and assaulted them, but this was the only case to result in criminal charges. "Just because they have signed up to do their civic duty in this case should not necessarily impose a lot of media upon them".
"This case has seen unprecedented worldwide media attention", he added, noting that more than 130 credentialed media representatives sat in on the trial and about 40 media vans were parked outside the courthouse in Norristown each day.
The jurors, who were selected from the Pittsburgh area, were transported back to their homes in Allegheny County on Saturday evening.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) The woman whose police complaint led to Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial is thanking supporters in the wake of the jury deadlock.
"Thank you for the outpouring of love & kindness & support".
Andrea Constand in a tweet Tuesday said she is "eternally grateful for the messages" she has received in recent days.
In this combination of file photos, entertainer Bill Cosby pauses during an interview in Washington on November 6, 2014, and Andrea Constand poses for a photo in Toronto on August 1, 1987. Cosby has called their sexual encounter consensual.
"Andrea (Constand's) testimony I think was very strong", said alternate juror Mike McCloskley. He found the taped phone call played in court between Cosby and Constand's mother, in which Cosby described the sexual encounter with her daughter, particularly disturbing.
Pennsylvania law allows the public release of jurors' names, but judges have discretion to keep them a secret under certain conditions.
A mistrial was declared Saturday after jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked.
An earlier story appears below.
Attorneys for both sides argued before the judge Tuesday over the issue of revealing who those Allegheny County jurors are. Steele, who immediately after a mistrial was declared on Saturday vowed to retry Cosby, argued there is a substantial probability that the rights of the parties to a fair trial will be negatively impacted by the release of the names of the jurors.
Recounting the "many attempts" by the media to interview Cosby's last jury, the judge also noted that some jurors reported being followed.
In a letter to the judge, Cosby lawyer Brian J. McMonagle wrote that the threat of jurors publicly airing their views on the evidence or details of their deliberations "could prevent Mr. Cosby from getting a fair trial in the future".