Published: Thu, April 05, 2018
Tech | By Tabitha Holland

Jury Selection Stopped After Cosby Team Claims Racial Discrimination by Prosecutors

Jury Selection Stopped After Cosby Team Claims Racial Discrimination by Prosecutors

Bill Cosby's lawyers challenged the prosecution's exclusion of a black woman from serving on the jury at his sexual assault retrial, alleging on Wednesday (Thursday NZ Time) that the decision was made on the basis of her race.

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. Six alternates also have to be picked.

A jury of seven men and five women - 10 of them white, two of them black - was seated Wednesday to decide Bill Cosby's fate in the biggest celebrity trial of the #MeToo era, after a day marked by defense accusations of racial discrimination.

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 prosecutions from excluding prospective jurors due to their race. "This man, the defendant, who is facing the rest of his life in jail, is African American", Bliss said, pointing at Cosby. Dickinson, now 63, has alleged that Cosby drugged her, rendering her unconscious, and sexually assaulted her when she was 27.


"Her response was that it had not happened but she could say it happened and file charges, file a civil suit, get the money, go to school, and open up a business", Jackson said.

This item has been corrected to fix the spelling of Feden's name. At last year's trial, the judge did not allow a handful of accusers to be included in the trial. The camera showed the judge, prosecutors and defence lawyers, but not potential jurors who were being questioned as a group.

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. 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.

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.


Cosby is accused of giving Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, pills that left her incapacitated before he allegedly performed sexual acts on her without her consent. Once the jury is assembled, they will be sequestered for the duration of the trial and deliberations, which could last a month. One juror said the panel was split 10-2 in favor of conviction, while another said the group was more evenly divided.

Bill Cosby's lawyers have scored a pair of rulings crucial to their strategy of painting his accuser as a money-grubbing liar as jury selection in his sexual assault retrial continues for a third day. The process resumes on Wednesday in suburban Philadelphia. Jackson says Constand once commented to her about setting up a "high-profile person" and filing a lawsuit. He has denied the charge and said any sexual encounters he ever had with Constand were consensual.

This settlement amount has never been disclosed to the public, but Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O'Neill ruled on Tuesday that the amount and details of the settlement agreement will be allowed in the trial.


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