Cosby jury filled as defense alleges discrimination 54

Yesterday, reports indicated that the jury selection for Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial had been stalled amid some racial slurs uttered by one of the prosecutors.

Cosby lawyer Kathleen Bliss said someone connected with the defense team heard someone on the prosecution side say "something that was discriminatory and repulsive".

The district attorney's office rejected the allegation, noting that prosecutors had no objection to seating two other black people on the jury.

Just 10 of 240 prospective jurors brought in on the first two days of jury selection were black, or about 4.2 percent.

A majority of jurors summoned as potential alternates Thursday said they had already formed an opinion on the comedian's guilt or innocence, and three-quarters of them said it would be a hardship to serve.

Cosby is charged with drugging and molesting a former Temple University women's basketball official at his home in 2004. The new trial is scheduled to start April 9 and jury selection has been under way since Monday, with eight jurors seated by midday Wednesday.

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The retrial jury appeared to skew younger than the hung jury from last year's trial. "For them to now make the claim that the strike of an individual establishes some type of pattern is, I think unfortunately, not being done for this court but for the media behind us".

Tuesday's rulings came ahead of the second day of jury selection in suburban Philadelphia.

This time, Cosby faces a different landscape, including the pressure of the #MeToo movement, the testimony of as many as five other women who claim similar misconduct by Cosby and his own new team of aggressive defense attorneys.

Castor's lawsuit said Cosby paid Constand "well into the millions of dollars" in a civil settlement.

The man said Thursday he believes he can set aside what he's heard about the Cosby case, but hesitated and couldn't guarantee it when pressed by the judge. Three of the jurors said they or a family member had been the victim of a sexual assault, but vowed that it would not affect their ability to be fair and impartial in Cosby's trial. The camera shows the judge, prosecutors and defense lawyers, but not potential jurors who are being questioned as a group.

It's illegal for either side to use peremptory challenges - their chances to reject a potential juror without giving a reason - to keep someone off a jury exclusively on the basis of race, ethnicity or gender. During another alternate's individual questioning, she said she had previously formed the opinion that Cosby was guilty, but she would be able to base her opinion of the defendant's innocence exclusively on the evidence presented in the case.

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The saga began this morning at the Montgomery County Courthouse here in Norristown, PA, after a middle-aged black woman was dismissed as a potential juror by prosecutors.

Ms Constand's lawyer has said Ms Jackson is not telling the truth.

"Crying by men and by women and more than one", he said. Since then, prosecutors have told Cosby's lawyers that Constand had modified her statement to acknowledge she "recalls a Margo".

The judge last June declared a mistrial after more than 52 hours of jury deliberations over six days.

AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

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  • Theresa Obrien