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1st juror seated at Bill Cosby retrial

1st juror seated at Bill Cosby retrial

Ms. Bliss made a so-called Batson claim - in which a lawyer objects to a challenge brought by the other side, claiming that it was motivated by race, sex or ethnicity - forcing the judge to suspend jury selection to hear arguments.

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

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 on Tuesday, and scores of potential jurors were sent home because they said they had already formed an opinion about the former TV star's guilt or innocence. But prosecutors and Cosby's lawyers both found him acceptable. Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele denounced the claim as "ludicrous".

Cosby swung his cane and said, "Good morning, good morning", as he walked into the courtroom.

Jury selection got underway Monday, with all but one potential juror telling a judge they've heard or seen something about the #MeToo campaign exposing sexual misconduct in the news and entertainment industries.

The majority of potential jurors summoned for the first trial said they had heard of the case, and almost half reported that they already had a fixed opinion about Cosby's guilt or innocence.

The battle over the juror's removal highlighted a vast racial disparity in the suburban Philadelphia jury pool that's limiting the number of black people available for consideration.

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

Bill Cosby will be back in court on Monday when his retrial on sexual charges begins.




The county says the names of people called for jury duty are selected randomly from a master list that combines voter registration records and driver's license records. Justices upheld an 1879 ruling, and said that while defendants don't have to right to a jury panel featuring people of their own race, the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause stops prosecutors from striking jurors on the basis of race. The woman rejected on Wednesday was the only black person to reach that stage.

Cosby's first trial, last June, ended when the former jury deadlocked following almost 60 hours of deliberation. Since then, prosecutors have told Cosby's lawyers that Constand had modified her statement to admit she "recalls a Margo".

Cosby's lawyers had appeared ready to strike at the first instance of prosecutors blocking a black juror, producing a legal brief that argued the move violated a 32-year-old Supreme Court ruling that prohibits prosecutors from excluding prospective jurors due to their race. O'Neill was not swayed and struck down the argument.

Cosby says the encounter with former Temple University women's basketball administrator Andrea Constand was consensual.

His first trial last spring ended with a deadlocked jury and a mistrial. The jury has six men and five women. The rest are millennials or on the cusp of middle-age.

Castor's lawsuit said Cosby paid Constand "well into the millions of dollars" in a settlement.

The woman said she could put aside her thoughts that Cosby is guilty. "And the tears came towards the end, it was so tense".

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

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