Jury Selection Stopped After Cosby Team Claims Racial Discrimination by Prosecutors

Norristown Pa. Prosecutors and the defense have settled on the panel of 12 jurors who will sit in judgment of the 80-year

Jury Selection Stopped After Cosby Team Claims Racial Discrimination by Prosecutors

Yesterday, reports indicated that the jury selection for Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial had been stalled amid some racial slurs uttered by one of the prosecutors.

Cosby's lawyers had accused prosecutors of racial discrimination Wednesday for excluding a black woman from the panel.

But Montgomery County district attorney Kevin Steele said prosecutors had agreed to both the black jurors to emerge from a jury pool.

Of the 12 seated jurors, two are black and 10 are white.

Cosby is charged with drugging and sexually assaulting Constand at his home in suburban Philadelphia more than 14 years ago. The new trial is scheduled to start April 9 and jury selection has been under way since Monday, with eight jurors seated by midday Wednesday.

The jury selection was closely watched because the 80-year-old's previous trial ended last summer with a hung jury, unable to reach a verdict after six days of deliberation.

After a tumultuous week of pretrial hearings in which Judge Steven O'Neill refused to step down from the case over questions of bias, jury selection officially began yesterday.

Bliss also accused one member of the prosecution team - whom she did not name - of making "discriminatory and repulsive" comments, which she did not detail or describe in open court. "We had gladly taken both of those seemingly very responsible people, and they are on our jury panel".

Picking a jury has proven hard after the #MeToo movement started toppling famous men months after Cosby's first trial ended in a deadlock.

O'Neill also ruled that the prosecution can present to jurors how much money Cosby paid Constand in a 2006 civil settlement.

The man said Thursday he believes he can set aside what he's heard about the Cosby case, but hesitated and couldn't guarantee it when pressed by the judge.

A jury has been picked in the Bill Cosby sexual assault retrial in suburban Philadelphia.

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". He says the encounter with the former Temple University women's basketball administrator was consensual.

While the prior proceeding lasted two weeks, jurors and alternates selected in this case will be subject to strict sequestration for as long as a month.

On Tuesday, Cosby lawyer Kathleen Bliss sprung a Batson challenge on the judge after prosecutors used one of their seven peremptory challenges to strike a white male.

The woman said she could put aside her thoughts that Cosby is guilty. The camera shows the judge, prosecutors and defense lawyers, but not potential jurors.

A dozen people were invited back for individual questioning Wednesday as the prosecution and defense look to fill 11 remaining spots. Constand's lawyer has said Jackson isn't telling the truth.

Those witnesses are expected to testify about similar alleged sexual assaults as prosecutors try to show that Cosby engaged in a pattern of misconduct.

O'Neill has granted them permission to call five other Cosby accusers over defense objections.

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.

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