Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Eight Jurors, All White, Selected for Cosby Trial

Francis Olson | 29 May, 2017, 00:25

Ten jurors have been selected from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania to hear testimony at Bill Cosby's criminal trial next month.

The male juror said he can put that aside if instructed to do so, and defense lawyers accepted him on the panel.

The jury is now made up of a middle-aged white woman, a middle-aged white man whose sister is a sexual assault survivor, a younger white man, an elderly white man, and a white woman who appeared to be in her 30s, according to WPVI-TV ABC6.

Juror No. 8, a white middle-age man, said he could be a fair juror even though a family member had once suffered a sexual assault.

However, O'Neill said that while the jury will be sequestered, they will be allowed to use their cell phones, watch television and use other devices that they normally would.

Attorneys must also select four alternate jurors.

Cosby, 79, said in a recent interview that he believes racism "could be" at the root of accusations of sexual misconduct that have piled up in the last two years.

The case has attracted worldwide publicity that the judge hopes to shield from jurors when the trial begins June 5 in suburban Philadelphia.

The jury pool is being drawn here because of concerns raised by Cosby's defence team that it would be hard to find open-minded jurors in Montgomery County, near Philadelphia, where he has a home and where the trial is scheduled to start on June 5 in Norristown. The lawyers are studying each person's race, sex, age, occupation and interests to try to guess their inherent sympathies, experts said.

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"You're looking for what people already believe", said David Harris, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Sitting just feet away from the men and women who may decide his fate, Cosby listens intently as they answer questions in voices so low the media, who are further away, can barely hear some of their answers. "They filter it into what they already know and think".

Judge Steven O'Neill for now rejected the argument after prosecutors said the second woman was a former Pittsburgh detective who sued the city after she was arrested in a public scandal. She said Cosby gave her wine and pills that put her in a stupor before molesting her on his couch. Cosby has said he does not expect to testify.

Constand was 30 and dating a woman at the time, while Cosby was 66 and long married to wife Camille.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are the victims of sexual assault unless they come forward, as Constand has done.

The first group of 100 potential jurors summoned Monday included 16 people of color. The judge has not yet ruled on anyone's qualification to serve, but was expected to question people individually throughout the afternoon. He is free on $100,000 bond and faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Allegheny County, which has a population of 1.2 million people, is 82 percent white and 13 percent black, according to 2010 Census Data.

He told a talk show host this week that he hopes to beat back the charges and resume his career. "I want to get back to the laughter and the enjoyment of things that I've written and things that I perform on stage".

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