Cosby can call witness to undermine sex assault accuser, judge rules

04 April, 2018, 02:03 | Author: Constance French
  • Cosby Sex Assault Retrial Jury Selection: 1 Down, 17 More to Go

Prosecutors in the Philadelphia-area tried Cosby past year for Constand's sexual assault, and the trial resulted in a deadlocked jury.

On Monday, all but one potential juror said they had knowledge of the Me Too movement.

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.

A new group of potential jurors summoned to Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial is proving more opinionated and less willing to serve than the panel that produced seven jurors over the last two days.

He claims he did not have previous knowledge of Cosby's sexual assault case and has not formed an opinion of Cosby's guilt or innocence, but has heard of the Me Too movement and recent allegations of sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry.

Judge Steven O'Neill announced last week that he would not recuse himself from the case after the defense pointed out a potential for him to be swayed by his wife's work as an advocate for victims of sexual assault.

A black woman who appears to be in her 60s was picked as a juror.

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.

Cosby's lawyers had also used two strikes, both to block white women from serving.

After 50 preliminary questions from O'Neill before lunch, he interviewed six individual potential jurors in front of the prosecution and defense in the afternoon.

The 80-year-old comedian is accused of drugging and assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2014 at his Philadelphia-area home. He has pleaded not guilty.

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While these rulings have bolstered Cosby's chances of winning this case, jury selection has become a daunting hurdle that the defense team must overcome.

About 125 prospective jurors filled out a standard questionnaire, answering questions about their background and their ability to be impartial. Almost everyone else in the initial jury pool of 120 suburban Philadelphia residents indicated they knew about the charges against Cosby.

Cosby has denied all allegations of sexual assault, stating that any sexual relationships he had outside his marriage were consensual.

This story has been corrected to show that 27 potential jurors were called back Tuesday, not 28.

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

Former university trustee Bill Cosby walks into the Montgomery County Courthouse on Monday.

Veteran lawyers and jury consultants say #MeToo could cut both ways for Cosby, making some potential jurors more hostile and others more likely to think men are being unfairly accused. Defense lawyers revealed that the defense strategy at trial will be that Constand's motive to accuse Cosby was greed.

One juror said the panel was split 10-2 in favor of conviction, while another said the group was more evenly divided. Second, the new trial will occur after the rise of the social media #MeToo movement that encouraged women to speak about experiences of sexual abuse.

The first juror is a white man in his mid-20s.

The process of picking 12 jurors begins Monday in suburban Philadelphia.

Last year, the jurors were selected from Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, rather than in Montgomery County, a suburb of Philadelphia.

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