Cosby trial jury selection to resume Tuesday

Rosalie Gross
April 4, 2018

The judge in Cosby's retrial ruled that his lawyers can call a witness who says his accuser talked about framing a celebrity.

Jackson's testimony is crucial to a defence plan to portray Constand as a greedy liar.

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.

During the first trial, O'Neill barred Jackson from taking the stand as a rebuttal witness, ruling that the statements were hearsay.

Also Tuesday, O'Neill ruled that lawyers may not mention at trial the pending lawsuits between Constand and Bruce L. Castor Jr., the former district attorney who declined to file charges against Cosby in 2005. About half said the length of the trial would pose a hardship.

Meanwhile, jury selection entered the second day as prospective jurors were summoned to the courthouse for the selection process.

Andrea Constand walks to the courtroom for Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial.

Openings are scheduled for April 9, and selection will continue until a total of 12 jurors and six alternates have been seated.

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. More than 40 women have accused the 80 year old entertainer of sexual assault.

"In a case with a lot of notoriety, jurors work even harder to reach a fair and impartial decision", he said.

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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.

More than 25 of the potential jurors will be called back and questioned on Tuesday and could potentially decide the fate of Cosby, who is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Almost everyone else in the initial jury pool of 120 suburban Philadelphia residents indicated they knew about the charges against Cosby. Almost all of the other 119 people interviewed either knew about the charges and/or had already drawn a conclusion about Cosby's innocence or guilt. A second large group of potential jurors was also brought in Tuesday, in case the sides ran out of jurors from the first group.

Prosecutors and the defence have begun the hard task of picking a jury for Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial today. It was a sign of how the movement and media saturation of Cosby's accusations hovered over the first day of jury selection at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, PA and how they could affect the upcoming trial.

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

Cosby has pleaded not guilty to charges he drugged and sexually molested Constand, a Temple University women's basketball administrator, at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He says the sexual encounter was consensual.

Last June, the first trial was made up of a jury pool from Allegheny county, far from the city of Philadelphia.

And all but one had heard or seen something about #MeToo, the powerful cultural movement that has been exposing sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry.

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 Los Angeles Times noted that Cosby's retrial will now have to face the #MeToo movement, which began late previous year after Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was outed as a serial sexual abuser.

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