Culture&Arts

Cosby defence says jury selection discriminatory

Cosby defence says jury selection discriminatory

The panel that will be charged with deciding Bill Cosby's fate was finalized Wednesday, as lawyers completed a three-day search for 12 Montgomery County residents who hadn't already made up their minds about the case.

The comedian and former star of The Cosby Show is being retried for sexual assault after Andrea Constand revealed that she had allegedly been drugged and molested by the 80 year-old sometime in 2004. But it remains unclear how long it will take to pick the jurors, who will be sequestered through the length of the trial.

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 county's jury questionnaire asks prospective jurors to self-identity their race to "help the court to monitor the juror selection process to avoid discrimination". During another alternate's individual questioning, she said she had previously formed the opinion that Cosby was guilty, but she would be able to base her opinion of the defendant's innocence exclusively on the evidence presented in the case. The defense will also be allowed to disclose how much money Cosby paid Constand in a 2006 civil settlement. The defense complained "she keeps changing her answers".

Steele denied Bliss' allegations as "simply ludicrous". Numerous alleged sexual predators who've been called out have been powerful or famous men like Cosby.

District Attorney Kevin Steele responded there was "absolutely no legitimacy" to the defense's challenge, adding that prosecutors had no problem seating the two other black people who've appeared for individual questioning so far.

Cosby's lawyers objected to having reporters in the courtroom because they feared it could hurt their ability to find a fair and impartial jury.

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.

As jury selection proceeded, The Associated Press and other news organizations challenged an arrangement that forces reporters to watch the proceedings on a closed-circuit feed from another courtroom. He says the encounter with the former Temple University women's basketball administrator was consensual.




The defense is alleging the prosecution was discriminatory in using one of its seven strikes to remove the woman from consideration.

During the first trial, O'Neill ruled that Jackson's testimony would be hearsay after Constand testified she did not know the woman.

Jury selection in Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial has been halted as the comedian's lawyers challenge the prosecution's decision to exclude a black woman from the jury.

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".

The woman said she could put aside her thoughts that Cosby is guilty.

Ms Constand's lawyer has said Ms Jackson is not telling the truth.

The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

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.