Defense raises race bias in Cosby jury selection process
- Author: Joanne Flowers May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 0:06
His wife of 52 years, Camille Cosby, was not with him.
Prosecutors said race was not a factor in their decision to strike two black women from the panel this week.
O'Neill agreed at the request of defense lawyers to pull jurors from Pittsburgh rather than Montgomery County due to the extensive media coverage of the case. Only one of them is black.
Cosby is accused of drugging and molesting a woman in 2004.
Constand was the first of more than 50 women who accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, but this is the only criminal trial Cosby has faced.
Lawyers have now selected five men and three women for the trial starting June 5 near Philadelphia.
A man in his 30s who says he doesn't watch much news has now become the eighth juror chosen in Pittsburgh for Bill Cosby's sex assault trial.
All of them are white.
The search for 12 jurors and six alternates for Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial is off to a brisk start even though a third of the initial jury pool had an opinion about Cosby's guilt or innocence and an equal number said they or someone close to them had been sexually assaulted.
Yet it was poor form for Cosby to break his silence of almost two years and do a radio interview in which he supported his daughter's assertion that racism is behind the allegations that scores of women have leveled against him. He has pleaded not guilty.
With 100 people questioned, attorneys for comedian Bill Cosby say the jury pool is overwhelmingly white and prosecutors are trying to keep black jurors off the panel.
The judge, meanwhile, removed a white male juror chosen Monday for undisclosed reasons.
Cosby arrived at the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh just before 8 a.m. Wednesday. Juror number 12 was nearly seated, but the Commonwealth used one of their peremptory strikes to remove her, CBS Pittsburgh reports.
The 79-year-old Cosby is accused of drugging and molesting a Temple University employee in 2004. Cosby became the first black actor to star in a network TV show in 1965 but has alienated some younger blacks by criticizing their clothes, music and lifestyle.
Cosby disclosed in a SiriusXM radio interview [May16] that he would not testify in his defense.
O'Neill is allowing only one of them to testify at the June 5 trial in suburban Philadelphia.
Those who are selected will be sequestered and bused from an undisclosed location 300 miles from where the trial is taking place to avoid interference.
Cosby admits to giving a pill to Constand but insists their relations were consensual.
The jurors chosen so far include three white men and two white women.
The jurors' names, ages and occupations were being kept private.
Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson says that reflects the scope of the problem and could be an issue for the defense.
One-third said they were more likely to believe police testimony, almost one-fourth had been convicted of a crime, and almost one-fifth said someone close to them had been sexually assaulted.
On Monday, nearly a third of the potential jurors summoned said they had already formed an opinion of Cosby's guilt or innocence in the sexual assault allegations lodged against him.
Cosby, who has been present in court for the selection of his jury, is always escorted by a member of his team.