A US jury has found comedian Bill Cosby liable in a civil case brought by a woman who claimed he sexually assaulted her as a teenager in the 1970s.
The Los Angeles jury of eight women and four men, awarded Huth $US500,000 ($718,000) in damages on Wednesday (Australian time). No punitive compensation was awarded.
The complaint was filed by Judy Huth, who said Cosby forced her to perform a sex act at the Playboy Mansion in 1975, when she was 16 and he was 37.
Cosby, now 84, had denied the allegation. He did not appear in person at the trial.
Ms Huth’s lawsuit was the first civil case against Cosby to come to trial.
Ms Huth, now 64, said she was “elated” by the ruling in the case, which she filed in 2014 after media reports detailed accusations against Cosby by multiple women.
Those reports helped stir up memories of her encounter with Cosby, Ms Huth said, and triggered four years of anxiety and other symptoms.
“It’s been so many years, so many tears,” she said outside California Superior Court in Santa Monica.
“It’s been a long time coming.”
In video of a deposition shown to jurors, Cosby said he did not remember Ms Huth. But he insisted the incident could not have happened because he would not have pursued sexual contact with someone who was under the age of 18.
Cosby lawyer Jennifer Bonjean challenged Ms Huth’s account throughout the trial, including her revised timeline.
When the lawsuit was filed in December 2014, Huth said the incident occurred in 1974, when she was 15.
She told jurors she recently concluded she had been mistaken about the year and now believed it happened in 1975. Ms Huth is now 64.
The civil trial in California took place 11 months after Cosby was freed from prison when Pennsylvania’s highest court threw out his sexual assault conviction in a different criminal case there.
Cosby, 84, is best known for his role as the loveable husband and father in the 1980s television comedy series The Cosby Show, earning him the nickname ‘America’s Dad’.
But his family-friendly reputation was shattered after more than 50 women accused him of sexual assaults over nearly five decades.
Cosby’s lawyers said he would appeal Wednesday’s verdict.
“Mr Cosby continues to maintain his innocence and will vigorously fight these false accusations, so that he can get back to bringing the pursuit of happiness, joy and laughter to the world,” Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said.
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