Published: Wed, April 04, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Merle Christensen

Jury Selection Begins In Cosby Sexual Assault Retrial

Jury Selection Begins In Cosby Sexual Assault Retrial

The juror is a white man in his 20s, and he told prosecutors and Cosby's defense team that he had never heard of Cosby allegations, which include dozens of stories from women who said he had drugged and sexually assaulted them over the past few decades.

The very fact that the judge is allowing five additional accusers to testify - not one, as in the first trial - is evidence of how the #MeToo moment has influenced the case, said Ms Paula Hannaford-Agor, director of the Centre for Jury Studies at the National Centre for State Courts.

Jackson's testimony is crucial to a defence plan to portray Constand as a greedy liar. Testimony from Marguerite Jackson will be offered as proof of Constand's motives for targeting Cosby.

Typically, prosecutors and defense attorneys can take what happened at the first trial, learn from it and improve on it in the retrial, but some experts say the climate surrounding sexual assault has changed so thoroughly that both sides should go back to the drawing board.

Cosby, 80, is facing his second criminal trial on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted Constand at his home in suburban Philadelphia more than 14 years ago.

She said during trial those pills made her feel "frozen" and pass out.

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.

One juror was picked on Monday and key rulings were expected on Tuesday in Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

At a hearing last month, Cosby lawyer Becky James argued it would be hard to find an impartial jury in this climate: "There's no way we will get a jury that hasn't heard these allegations against not just Mr. Cosby but many other celebrities".

Bill Cosby, the American comedian, who fell from grace with many other talented men in the entertainment industry in 2017, is facing a retrial in the charges brought against him by a Canadian woman.

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"If I'm the defense and I've got a juror who's heard about the case and the hung jury, that might be good", he said.

Prosecutors and the defence pored over the questionnaires as they began whittling the jury pool down to the 12 who will decide Cosby's fate.

About 125 prospective jurors filled out a standard questionnaire, answering questions about their background and their ability to be impartial.

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.

A big question during the jury-selection process this week has been the impact the #MeToo movement is having on potential jurors.

One potential juror who was questioned individually said that she could not set aside previous knowledge of this case and be a fair juror is selected.

Montgomery County President Judge Thomas DelRicci scheduled a Wednesday morning hearing on the news media's legal challenge. He says the sexual encounter was consensual.

The defense made it clear in pretrial hearings earlier this month that the recent increased attention on sexual misconduct and assault allegations against well-known men will result in a biased jury pool for Cosby. The lone person who claimed ignorance on Me Too was not invited back.

The prosecution and defense responded to those numbers by agreeing to strike 88 potential jurors with cause. The following year, Cosby negotiated a settlement with his accuser.

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