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Cosby jury to return on Friday to try to break deadlock

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Actor and comedian Bill Cosby (L) leaves Montgomery County Courthouse with his attorney Brian McMonagle after the fourth day of deliberations in his sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S., June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
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A podium of microphones sits outside the Montgomery County Courthouse as the jury deliberates in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand returns to the courtroom on the fourth day of jury deliberations in Cosby's sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/Pool
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Actor and comedian Bill Cosby walks to the courtroom during a break on the second day of his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Matt Rourke/Pool
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Actor and comedian Bill Cosby arrives with publicist Andrew Wyatt for jury deliberations during his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
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Actor and comedian Bill Cosby arrives with publicist Andrew Wyatt for jury deliberations during his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
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Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse on the fourth day of jury deliberations in his sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/Pool
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Bill Cosby's lawyer Brian McMonagle arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse on the fourth day of jury deliberations in Cosby's sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/Pool
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Bill Cosby's defense lawyers Brian McMonagle and Angela Agrusa arrive at the Montgomery County Courthouse on the fourth day of jury deliberations in Cosby's sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/Pool
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Attorney Gloria Allred speaks to reporters on the fourth day of jury deliberation in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
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Bill Cosby supporters stand with a sign outside the Montgomery County Courthouse where Cosby is waiting for deliberations to finish on the eighth day of his sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
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Accuser Lili Bernard argues with a Bill Cosby supporter outside the Montgomery County Courthouse where Cosby is waiting for deliberations to finish on the eighth day of his sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
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Bill Cosby's publicist Andrew Wyatt speaks to the news media on the fourth day of jury deliberation in Cosby's sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
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News media assemble outside of the Montgomery County Courthouse on the fourth day of jury deliberation in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
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Bill Cosby's publicist Andrew Wyatt speaks to the news media on the fourth day of jury deliberation in Cosby's sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
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Andrea Constand arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse as the jury deliberates in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania. REUTERS/Matt Rourke/Pool
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Bill Cosby exits the courtroom with publicist Andrew Wyatt at the Montgomery County Courthouse on the fourth day of jury deliberations in Cosby's sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/Pool
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Bill Cosby's lawyer Brian McMonagle arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse as the jury deliberates in Cosby's sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania. REUTERS/Matt Rourke/Pool
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Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele arrives on the fourth day of Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/Pool
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| NORRISTOWN, Pa.

NORRISTOWN, Pa. The jurors in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial concluded their fourth day of deliberation on Thursday, unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the three charges against the entertainer.

Judge Steven O'Neill in Norristown, Pennsylvania, sent the jurors, many of whom looked exhausted, back to their hotel a few minutes after 9 p.m. on Thursday after praising them for their efforts.

The jury has completed about 40 hours of deliberations, including three consecutive 12-hour days, without reaching an unanimous verdict and will return on Friday.

O'Neill had instructed the jurors to continue trying to deliver a verdict around 11:30 a.m., following a note in which they said they could not agree on a verdict on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

Cosby, 79, once beloved for his brand of family-friendly comedy, is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, then 31, at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

Constand and other accusers say Cosby, the star of the 1980s hit TV comedy "The Cosby Show," often plied them with pills and alcohol before assaulting them in a series of incidents over four decades.

Constand's allegations are the only ones to result in criminal charges, with many of the others too old to allow for prosecution. Cosby has denied every claim, saying his encounters with Constand and others were consensual.

A hung jury would represent a clear victory for Cosby, who would avoid what could have been years in prison. Prosecutors would have the option of seeking a retrial if the jury cannot reach a verdict.

Following the jury's morning note, one of Cosby's accusers, Jewel Allison, began crying. Soon after, Cosby protesters and supporters faced off in verbal confrontations outside the courthouse.

O'Neill rejected a motion from Cosby's lawyers for a mistrial on Thursday morning. The judge and the lawyers met in private just before 9 p.m. outside the presence of reporters gathered in the courtroom, so it was unclear whether defense lawyers renewed their request.

The jurors have spent days wrestling with which version of the night in question was accurate: Constand's or Cosby's. They have spent days asking to have testimony read back, including Constand's trial testimony as well as the first report she made to police in 2005.

The jury also revisited Cosby's description of the night from sworn depositions he gave in 2005 and 2006 during a civil lawsuit by Constand and a police interview he conducted in 2005. Cosby did not testify.

Defense lawyers during the trial emphasized discrepancies in Constand's statements to police in 2005 in an effort to undermine her credibility.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, used her testimony as well as the words of a second accuser, Kelly Johnson, to portray Cosby as a serial predator. Johnson told jurors Cosby sexually assaulted her in strikingly similar fashion in 1996.

In his decade-old depositions, Cosby said he gave Constand Benadryl, a common allergy drug whose side effects can include drowsiness. He called the pills her "friends" without telling her what they were, and admitted to giving other young women Quaaludes, a sedative, in the 1970s.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Andrew Hay)

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