Cosby Sex Assault Retrial Jury Selection: 1 Down, 17 More to Go

Oscar Cross
April 4, 2018

The judge also made a ruling that settlement negotiations between Constand and Cosby, 80, can not be used as evidence in the case - in which she accuses the comedian of drugging and molesting her more than a decade ago.

The judge presiding over Bill Cosby's felony sexual-assault trial handed the defense a big win today.

Bill Cosby's defense team will be allowed to seek testimony from a woman whose statements may undermine prosecutors' key witness in the comedian's upcoming retrial on charges of aggravated indecent assault.

Jackson was initially not permitted to testify during the first trial after Constand claimed to not know her.

Jackson's testimony was crucial to a defence plan to portray Constand as a greedy liar.

As a former academic adviser to the women's basketball players at Temple, Jackson says she befriended and often roomed with Constand, the team's director of operations, when traveling for work. The judge issued one caveat to the ruling, saying he could revisit his decision after Constand's testimony.

The judge has yet to make other rulings in the case, including whether jurors will hear portions of Cosby's deposition from the lawsuit with Constand in which he admits that he has obtained Quaaludes with the intention of using them to seduce women.

But Jackson said in a signed affidavit that Constand's allegations came as no surprise to her based on a conversation they had years earlier. Cosby swung his cane and said, "Good morning, good morning", as he walked into the courtroom.

Jury selection got off to an exceedingly slow start, with a single juror seated and three-quarters of the pool dismissed for cause - primarily because the prospective jurors already had formed an opinion about Cosby's guilt or innocence.

Cosby's first trial last June ended in a mistrial when jurors could not reach a verdict. Cosby's lawyers are upset because prosecutors have blocked two white men from serving on the jury, including one who said he thought numerous women coming forward in the #MeToo movement are "jumping on the bandwagon".

A woman walking into the suburban Philadelphia courthouse with Cosby Tuesday said they are looking for fair and impartial jurors. More than half said they already had made up their minds about Cosby, and all of them were dismissed.

That left just 27 people invited back for individual questioning Tuesday as prosecutors and Cosby's lawyers worked to fill out the panel of 12 jurors and six alternates.

"The Cosby Show" star maintained that the encounter was consensual.

Picking a jury has proven hard after the #MeToo movement started toppling famous men months after Cosby's first trial ended in a deadlock. The lone person who claimed ignorance on Me Too was not invited back.

Veteran lawyers and jury consultants say.MeToo could cut both ways for Cosby, making some potential jurors more hostile and others more likely to think men are being unfairly accused.

In all, prosecutors and the defense removed a total of 91 potential jurors before breaking on Monday. Details of that settlement were not aired during the first trial and have remained secret for more than a decade. For the retrial, a judge has ruled that jurors can hear from five additional accusers, giving prosecutors a chance to portray Cosby as a serial predator.

Court documents indicate the defense has asked to call a witness they say shows Constand planned to fabricate a claim of sexual assault in order to get a big payout.

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