COSBY DE­FENSE AL­LEGES DIS­CRIM­I­NA­TION IN JURY SE­LEC­TION

South Florida Times - - WEEK IN REVIEW -

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Bill Cosby’s lawyers chal­lenged the pros­e­cu­tion’s ex­clu­sion of a black woman from serv­ing on the jury at his sex­ual as­sault re­trial, al­leg­ing on Wed­nes­day that the de­ci­sion was made on the ba­sis of her race. Prose­cu­tors pushed back, not­ing two blacks have been al­ready been seated on the panel that will sit in judg­ment of the 80-yearold co­me­dian. The judge said he didn’t be­lieve the pros­e­cu­tion had any “dis­crim­i­na­tory in­tent” but halted the third day of jury se­lec­tion to con­sider the de­fense ar­gu­ment. 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 be­cause of their race. The de­fense had made the same ar­gu­ment on Tues­day re­gard­ing the pros­e­cu­tion’s ex­clu­sion of sev­eral white men, but Judge Steven O’Neill re­jected it. The le­gal ma­neu­ver­ing came as lawyers picked an eighth ju­ror, a white woman who was at first hes­i­tant to guar­an­tee she could block out what she’s read and seen about the Cosby case and the #MeToo move­ment against sex­ual mis­con­duct. “I could try. I mean, it’s still in my head,” she ex­plained, be­fore even­tu­ally agree­ing. The jury so far con­sists of six whites and two blacks. Four ju­rors are men and four are omen.A dozen peo­ple were in­vited back for in­di­vid­ual ques­tion­ing Wed­nes­day as the pros­e­cu­tion and de­fense looked to fill the re­main­ing spots. A third batch of 120 po­ten­tial ju­rors was also called to the court­house in subur­ban Philadel­phia. Cosby chat­ted with lawyer Kath­leen Bliss in court, say­ing,“How are you this morn­ing?” She replied, “bright eyed and bushy tailed.” He then feigned a glance be­hind her, as if look­ing for a tail. Cosby has pleaded not guilty to charges he drugged and mo­lested An­drea Con­stand at his subur­ban Philadel­phia home in 2004. He says the en­counter with the for­mer Tem­ple Uni­ver­sity women’s bas­ket­ball ad­min­is­tra­tor was con­sen­sual. No ma­jor rul­ings were ex­pected Wed­nes­day af­ter the trial judge opened Tues­day’s ses­sion by is­su­ing de­ci­sions fa­vor­able to a de­fense team that is try­ing to cast Cosby as the vic­tim of a shake­down scheme in­volv­ing false ac­cu­sa­tions of sex­ual as­sault.

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