Would-be jurors acknowledge already having opinions on Bill Cosby case

04 April, 2018, 02:07 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • Cosby Sex Assault Retrial Jury Selection: 1 Down, 17 More to Go

As jury selection picked up speed, the judge in Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial gave his legal defence a huge lift Tuesday with two rulings that could bolster the 80-year-old comedian's efforts to show his accuser made up the allegations against him in hopes of a big payday.

Judge Steven O'Neill ruled Tuesday that a woman who says his accuser was out for money can testify.

O'Neill previously helped the prosecutor's case by allowing five additional accusers to testify against Cosby.

Marguerite Jackson's testimony is crucial to the defense's plan to portray Constand as a greedy liar. The judge issued one caveat to the ruling, saying he could revisit his decision after Constand's testimony. He said he wouldn't rule on that until it was brought up at the retrial.

Prospective jurors in the Bill Cosby sexual assault retrial have gathered in a suburban Philadelphia courthouse for the first day of jury selection. Cosby swung his cane and said, "Good morning, good morning", as he walked into the courtroom.

O'Neill told the jury pool the trial could last more than a month, adding the panel would be sequestered in a "very nice" hotel.

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 - including the two women picked Tuesday - and scores of potential jurors were sent home because they said they'd already formed an opinion about the former TV star's guilt or innocence.

More than half of the 120 potential jurors who answered questions about their background and views told a judge they had already formed an opinion about the comedian's guilt or innocence. Another group of 120 potential jurors also was also being brought in, in case they do not make the cut.

Jury experts said the key is getting potential jurors to open up about their personal experiences surrounding sexual assault and misconduct, something that might be better done behind closed doors, in the judge's chambers, where people might be more likely to speak candidly.

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As a outcome, scores of potential jurors were sent home because they said they'd already formed an opinion about Cosby's guilt or innocence.

Montgomery County President Judge Thomas DelRicci said he would schedule a hearing on the news media's request.

Constand, a former Temple University athletic department employee, accused Cosby of having inappropriate sexual contact with her at his Cheltenham home after plying her with blue pills and wine sometime between January and February 2004.

"The Cosby Show" star maintained that the encounter was consensual. The first trial end in a mistrial last June when the jury could not come to a verdict.

All but one potential juror say they've heard or seen something about the #MeToo movement exposing sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry.

Jackson, according to the affidavit, recalled being on a trip to Rhode Island and rooming with Constand and watching a television news report "about a prominent person who had been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting women".

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

"Janice Dickinson signed a sworn declaration that Bill Cosby had drugged and raped her. Mr. Cosby failed to submit any declaration in response, meaning he did not deny her allegations", Dickinson attorney Lisa Bloom said.

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