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Jury selection completed for Bill Cosby's retrial

05 April, 2018, 01:54 | Author: Arnold Gilbert
  • Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse before jury selection in his sexual assault retrial

Prosecutors pushed back, noting two black jurors have been already been seated on the panel that will sit in judgment of the 80-year-old comedian. All told, 12 jurors will be chosen along with six alternates.

So far, four women and four men have been empaneled, with the eighth - a middle-aged white woman - being seated early Wednesday.

Cosby's lawyers had appeared ready to strike at the first instance of prosecutors blocking a black juror, producing a legal brief that argued the move violated a 32-year-old Supreme Court ruling that prohibits prosecutors from excluding prospective jurors due to their race.

Veteran lawyers and jury consultants say #MeToo could cut both ways for Cosby, making some potential jurors more hostile and others more likely to think men are being unfairly accused. All but two are white.

Cosby's lawyers had tried to get the woman removed for cause after she admitted she checked off the wrong answers on her jury questionnaire because she hadn't read the questions.

During the first trial, Cosby's defense sought to discredit Constand - pointing to inconsistencies in her story.

O'Neill has allowed for five women to testify in the upcoming retrial, including model and reality television star Janice Dickinson.

Cosby chatted with lawyer Kathleen Bliss in court, saying, "How are you this morning?" Since then, prosecutors have told Cosby's lawyers that Constand had modified her statement to acknowledge she "recalls a Margo".

The judge's decision on the 2005 civil suit came on the second day of jury selection for the retrial.

Cosby is charged with drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

The jury in Cosby's first trial deadlocked last June, months before #MeToo started toppling famous men in rapid succession, among them movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Today show host Matt Lauer, actor Kevin Spacey and Democratic US Senator Al Franken.

Judge Steven O'Neill also granted two requests from Cosby's attorneys that will help bolster his defense.

Prosecutors and the defence began the hard task of picking a jury for Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial amid a powerful #MeToo movement that has pierced the consciousness of the men and women who will sit in judgment of the 80-year-old comedian. Prosecutors did not have to give a reason for wanting her removed. Dickinson, now 63, has alleged that Cosby drugged her, rendering her unconscious, and sexually assaulted her when she was 27. He's pleaded not guilty.

Media lawyers had challenged an arrangement that forced reporters to watch the group questioning part of the process on a closed-circuit feed from another courtroom.

Montgomery County President Judge Thomas DelRicci agreed to move the camera to the back of the courtroom so the media could see the potential jurors. The judge refused to make room in the crowded courtroom for a pool reporter, but said if the jury pool did not fill the room to capacity, he'd allow reporters to attend live.

Wednesday marks the third day of jury selection.

Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial is slated to take place in April.

Cosby walked into the suburban Philadelphia courthouse Wednesday where lawyers are continuing to choose the jury.

The first and only juror to be selected on Monday indicated he had no knowledge of the case and would not let what he has heard about #MeToo influence his ability to be impartial. One juror said the panel was split 10-2 in favor of conviction, while another said the group was more evenly divided.

Jury selection will continue Wednesday in Norristown.

For the retrial, a judge has ruled that jurors can hear from five additional accusers, giving prosecutors a chance to portray Cosby as a serial predator. The defense will also be allowed to disclose how much money Cosby paid Constand in a 2006 civil settlement.

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