Cosby jury filled as defense alleges discrimination

Sunday, 08 Apr, 2018

Prospective jurors in the Bill Cosby sexual assault retrial have gathered in a suburban Philadelphia courthouse for the first day of jury selection.

"She passed every single stage as a fair and impartial juror", Bliss said. He says the jurors should "erase everything they heard outside this courtroom when they come in for Monday".

Comedian Bill Cosby has arrived for the first day of jury selection in his retrial on sexual assault charges.

Cosby's first trial ended with a hung jury in June.

Jury selection is almost finished in the Bill Cosby sexual assault case.

By 11:30 a.m., the 58 men and 68 women from Montgomery County were led into a second-floor courtroom in Norristown, 10 people at a time.

Prosecutors pushed back, noting two black jurors had been seated, and the judge said he didn't believe the prosecution had any "discriminatory intent". The district attorney's office rejected the allegation.

The opening arguments for the former university trustee's retrial are set to begin on Monday at the Montgomery County Courthouse. He says the encounter was consensual.

Two of the 12 jurors - a man and a woman - are black; the rest are white.

The judge in Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial has delivered two major victories to the comedian's legal defense.

At the time, the judge barred her from taking the stand after Constand denied knowing her.

Cosby was joined by his new attorney Thomas Mesereau, Jr - the lawyer who won an acquittal in Michael Jackson's child molestation case - and his law partner Kathleen Bliss.

Cosby jury filled as defense alleges discrimination
Cosby jury filled as defense alleges discrimination

Numerous victims recall Cosby offering them a drink that was laced with Quaaludes, a notable date-rape drug, which he admitted to in an old deposition.

Both women say they've read media reports about Cosby's case and the #MeToo anti-sexual assault movement.

Judge Steven O'Neill ruled Tuesday that a woman who says his accuser was out for money can testify. He contended that Cosby's lawyers were playing to the media. But he changed his mind following both written submissions and oral arguments at pretrial hearings last week. "They are on our jury panel".

Cosby is charged with drugging a woman at his home in the Philadelphia suburbs, then sexually assaulting her.

As Wednesday's session got underway, a judge gave The Associated Press and other media organizations more access to jury selection. Three have been interviewed as individuals, and two were selected for the jury.

Cosby swung his cane and said, "Good morning, good morning", as he walked into the courtroom.

The attorney for the 80-year-old comedian claimed the prosecution was guilty of "racial animus" after prosecutors excused a middle-aged black women as a potential juror, according to CBS Philly.

This Pennsylvania trial, involving the alleged 2004 sexual assault of Andrea Constand at Cosby's home, is the only one to reach criminal court.

All but one of the people in the initial group of potential jurors said they were aware of the #MeToo movement or the allegations it spurred against powerful entertainment figures.

Last year's panel included a man in his 80s who told reporters he was suspicious of Constand's story and suspected that "politics was involved" in reviving the decade-old case with "no stained clothing, no smoking gun, nothing".

There are seven men and five women. The process resumes on Wednesday in suburban Philadelphia.