Bill Cosby: How his legacy is still changed forever

PHOTO: Bill Cosby walks to the courtroom with publicist Andrew Wyatt at the Montgomery County Courthouse as the jury deliberates in his sexual assault trial in Norristown, Penn., June 13, 2017PlayMatt Rourke/Reuters
WATCH Bill Cosby's sexual assault case ends in a mistrial

A Pennsylvania judge on Saturday declared Bill Cosby's sexual assault case end in a mistrial after the jury was deadlocked on all three counts. Still, it doesn't mean Cosby is free.

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The district attorney is planning to retry the comic on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand more than a decade ago.

Despite a storied career spanning four decades -- from stand-up comedy to the small screen to blockbuster films -- the trial may have left Cosby's legacy of laughs irreparably harmed.

"His empire has been forever tarnished and tainted ... as is his legacy," ABC News Senior Legal Correspondent Sunny Hostin said. "Had this been a one accuser story, there’s no question that perhaps he would be able to resume a career."

Although he wasn't convicted in the Constand case, Cosby has also been accused by more than 50 other women of drugging or sexual misconduct. He hasn't been charged with any crimes in the other cases, and has maintained his innocence.

"I just don’t think he can then go back as 'America’s Dad' or go back to America as a moral authority," Hostin added.

William Henry Cosby Jr. in part became a modern-day moral authority of sorts when he gave his now famous respectability speech at a 2004 NAACP event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which desegregated public schools.

In that speech he criticized the black poor, blaming their plight on a culture of poverty, lack of education and lack of parenting, instead of institutionalized discrimination and racism.

"In our own neighborhood, we have men in prison," Cosby began. "No longer is a person embarrassed because they’re pregnant without a husband. No longer is a boy considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being the father of the unmarried child. ...In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on."

It may be the reason why Cosby acted as parent to many students at Temple University, where he graduated from in 1971.

The comedian stepped down from the Philadelphia university's board of trustees in 2014 amid his ongoing scandal, but the school still has a $3,000 scholarship in his name, called The Cosby Scholarship, given to rising juniors majoring in the natural sciences, according to the school's website.

Temple alumnus Adriene Boone said when she matriculated there, from 2002 to 2006, she knew that Cosby "would always show up at the sporting events, he would do the freshman orientation sometimes, and get you pumped about being a Temple Owl."

Calling him a "figure of school pride," Boone remembers her class of 2006 being disappointed that Cosby wouldn't speak at their graduation -- a long-standing tradition.

Months after Constand filed a civil lawsuit against him, Cosby was asked not to speak at Temple University's graduation, as he did in years prior. In the suit, she included depositions from 13 other women, claiming they were sexually assaulted by the Temple alumnus over the years.

"As a 21-year-old, no one really watched the news so you didn't know what was happening so I think everyone was just kind of sad about it," Boone explained. "But I don’t think anyone thought about the gravity of the situation at the time. As an adult, I will say I'm hurt."

Cosby's legacy will not only include what happened in court this week, but it'll also include what some may call his greatest achievement. Cosby created the American family fantasy: a happily married mother and father, high-powered professionals with healthy kids who only got in the sort of trouble you could laugh about it at the end of the episode.

And although many networks have pulled reruns of the hit series, "The Cosby Show," which ran from 1984 until 1992, its spin-off "A Different World" still airs on TV and was recently picked up by Netflix. Not to mention, in May 2015, Cosby wrapped up his latest comedy tour, "Far From Finished."

After this, will fans still want more from him?

Longtime entertainment journalist and ESPN correspondent Chris Connelly said that "history is going to have to decide on its own."

"Throughout history, there's always been a question of if we can regard ... the work separate from the personal behavior of the person who created it and it's an ongoing question," he continued. "What everyone would agree with right now is that it feels like a tragedy."