Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Jury in Place For Bill Cosby's Retrial

Bill Cosby arrives to the pretrial hearing for his sexual assault trial at Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown Jury in Place For Bill Cosby's Retrial
Michele Schwartz | 07 April, 2018, 01:01

With a slight stumble, comedian Bill Cosby has arrived for the fourth day of jury selection in his retrial on sexual assault charges. Two of the 12 jurors are African-American.

Cosby's lawyers had accused prosecutors of racial discrimination Wednesday for excluding a black woman from the panel. Cosby will be retried for sexual assault on April 9.

The first trial also had two African-American jurors. Four jurors are men and four are women.

After a break, defense attorney Bliss argued that she was "suspicious" of the intent behind the strike. There are seven men and five women. The judge will allow testimony from 5 of Cosby's more than 60 accusers, five times more than in the first trial last spring.

That's when opening statements are scheduled in the retrial that pits Cosby against a woman who says he drugged and assaulted her in 2004.

Almost everyone else in the initial jury pool of 120 suburban Philadelphia residents indicated they knew about the charges against Cosby, including the two women picked on Tuesday, and scores of potential jurors were sent home because they said they had already formed an opinion about the former TV star's guilt or innocence.

The prosecution pointed to the already appointed jurors to defend themselves against those claims. Prosecutors and Cosby's lawyers nevertheless found him acceptable.

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

Cosby's lawyers alleged a member of the prosecution team made a disparaging remark after prosecutors rejected one of the few black women considered for the case.

The 80-year-old comedian's lawyers are trying to use the remark as evidence that prosecutors were discriminatory in wanting the juror off the case.

Cosby chatted with lawyer Kathleen Bliss in court, saying, "How are you this morning?"

District Attorney Kevin Steele says "there's absolutely no legitimacy" to the defense challenge.

Judge Steven T. O'Neill then chose to halt proceedings and summon attorneys to his chambers so he could hear the alleged comment.

"She's the only African-American left", Bliss claimed, referring to the latest pool of 120 potential jurors that have been summoned. Prosecutors did not have to give a reason for wanting her removed.

Castor was DA in 2005 when Constand first told police that Cosby had drugged and molested her. Castor ended his investigation into Cosby after four weeks, announcing the comedian wouldn't be charged because the evidence showed both parties "could be held in less than a flattering light". He's pleaded not guilty.

This item has been corrected to show that surveys were filled out ahead of time.

The young man picked as a retrial juror said he did not know anything about Cosby's case.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press and other news organizations filed a legal motion Tuesday to challenge an arrangement that forces reporters to watch the proceedings on a closed-circuit feed from another courtroom.

In all, prosecutors and the defense removed a total of 91 potential jurors before breaking on Monday.

Montgomery County President Judge Thomas DelRicci agreed Wednesday to move the camera to the back of the courtroom so the media can see the potential jurors.

Wednesday marks the third day of jury selection.

Last June, after more than 52 hours of jury deliberations over six days, the judge declared a mistrial.

Large snowflakes fell on Cosby as he walked into a suburban Philadelphia courthouse Monday.

One juror was chosen Monday and six on Tuesday.

Cosby, 80, is charged with drugging and molesting Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

Last year's trial was mostly a he-said-she-said. One juror said the panel was split 10-2 in favor of conviction, while another said the group was more evenly divided.

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

Seven jurors have been picked so far.

Judge Steven O'Neill also made a pair of crucial rulings that greatly will impact the strategy of both teams.

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