nsucurrent.com
nsucurrent.com April 24, 2018


Bill Cosby Jury Is Set After a Dispute Over the Racial Makeup

08 April 2018, 01:31 | Lowell Little

Gilbert Carrasquillo Cosby's new legal team tried to get the re-trial judge removed but were unsuccessful

Cosby's new legal team tried to get the re-trial judge removed but were unsuccessful

The major disagreement of the day came in a challenge from Mr. Cosby's lawyers, who claimed that the prosecution had objected to the inclusion of a black woman on the jury because of her race.

More than 180 potential jurors has been summoned to the courthouse Monday; 120 of them will make up the initial panel of 12 jurors and six alternates, reports CBS Philadelphia. James Kirkland Batson, a black man convicted by an all-white jury for burglary, argued that his rights were violated after four black people were struck from the panel.

Defense attorney's claimed similar cases of discrimination during jury selection on Tuesday, claiming the prosecution was eliminating older white males from serving on the jury.

Bill Cosby's lawyers have agreed to move ahead with jury selection after alleging prosecutors removed a black woman from consideration because of her race.

As Wednesday's session got underway, a judge gave The Associated Press and other media organizations more access to jury selection. 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. He also ruled that the jury can hear the amount of the settlement that Cosby reached with his accuser.

The judge issued one caveat to the ruling, saying he could revisit his decision after Ms Constand's evidence.

Cosby has denied charges he drugged and molested a woman at his home in 2004.

All but a few people in the alternate pool said they had seen something in the news about the Cosby case and the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct.




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'd appeared for individual questioning. He contended that Cosby's lawyers were playing to the media.

The original retrial was due to begin in November 2017 but was pushed back six months after Cosby hired the new lawyers. Defense lawyers say a member of the prosecution team was overheard making a disparaging remark after prosecutors used one of their challenges to have the woman dismissed as a potential juror.

Defense lawyers had asked O'Neill to permit Jackson to testify that Constand, a former co-worker, once told her she could profit by accusing a famous person of sexual assault.

O'Neill has sealed identifying information about jurors due to concern about the overwhelming publicity that has followed the case from the start. He says the encounter with the former Temple University women's basketball administrator was consensual.

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

Judge Steven O'Neill on Tuesday granted the Cosby team's request to call a woman who says accuser Andrea Constand talked about framing a celebrity before she lodged allegations against the comedian in 2005.

O'Neill also hinted during a pretrial hearing last week that he could keep jurors from hearing Cosby's prior testimony in a deposition about giving quaaludes to women before sex. But for some reason our society just needed a few more years to truly condemn that kind of behaviour.



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