Cosby jury selection nearing completion
- Author: Larry Hoffman May 31, 2017,
May 31, 2017, 19:36
Meanwhile, O'Neill grilled a prospective juror about his exchange on Facebook about the case with another pool member, who had posted on the social media site, "I am not supposed to talk about it but I got picked for Cosby".
"We believe this is systematic exclusion of African-Americans", McMonagle said.
The jury pool is approximately 88 percent white, consistent with Allegheny County census bureau data for 2015.
The startling removal - upending a carefully and heavily fought-over panel - forced the judge to return to the jury pool to find another juror.
In the end two black jurors were selected: a woman who said she knew little about the case and a soft-spoken, extremely polite man who left the courtroom before his selection was announced by cheerily saying, "Have a good day" to the judge.
The male juror said he can put that aside if instructed to do so, and defense lawyers accepted him on the panel.
Tuesday night ended with 11 selections: seven white men, three white women, and one black woman. Only one of them is black. It's said that Cosby will not take the stand in his own defense once the case starts, but Constand along with another accuser are set to testify. The trial is scheduled to begin June 5.
All of them are white.
Judge Steven O'Neill rejected the race bias argument, but said he would revisit the issue if the defense offered statistical evidence of any discrimination.
Cosby, 79, is charged with three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault from a 2004 case involving Andrea Constand, an employee at his alma mater, Temple University. Also last week, Cosby told a radio host in his first broadcast interview in almost two years that the case against him might have been racially motivated. "This case is frankly more about gender, celebrity, how women are treated (and) Bill Cosby's credibility". 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.
The jurors will be bused 483 kilometres east and sequestered for the duration of the trial.
Cosby arrived at the Allegheny County Courthouse just before 9 a.m. Tuesday.
In 2005, Constand went to the police to report that Cosby drugged and sexually molested her at his home the year before, but the district attorney at the time declined to bring charges against the comedian. He has pleaded not guilty and has described the encounter in sworn testimony as consensual.
When the jury she helped pick this week arrives in suburban Philadelphia for Cosby's trial, the tabloids will be there, too.
Cosby's attorney, Brian McMonagle, did not stop to speak to reporters after the jury was selected.
During the proceedings on Wednesday, one juror who had been chosen on Monday was removed - a white man O'Neill said was exempted for "deeply personal reasons".
Little information has been made public about the jurors, so their ages and most of their professions are unknown. One was accepted; seven were dismissed for causes like hardship or having a fixed opinion or being a sexual assault victim; and two were struck by the DA.