Jury for Cosby trial includes two blacks

Posted June 05, 2017

The Pennsylvania jury that will decide comedian Bill Cosby's fate at his upcoming sexual assault trial is almost complete, a day after defence lawyers claimed prosecutors were trying to exclude black people from the panel.

Bill Cosby's defense lawyers accused the prosecution of "a systematic exclusion of African Americans" on Tuesday after only one black person was included in the 11 jurors selected for their client's sexual assault trial. The jury includes four white women, six white men, one black woman and one black man.

"We believe it is of paramount importance we seat a diverse jury", McMonagle said, adding that it would be a "potential disgusting problem" if the jury giving the verdict for the black comedian against accusation from a white woman was racially one-sided. A new jury pool will be summoned on Wednesday to pick a 12th juror and six alternates. The charges, however, were dismissed and she later filed a lawsuit against the city. The judge, though, found that prosecutors had other valid reasons to strike two black women from the jury pool earlier this week.

Cosby is standing trial for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, an assistant basketball coach at Temple University, in 2004.

Seven jurors are white men, three are white women and there is one black woman.

The jury pool is approximately 88 percent white, consistent with Allegheny County census bureau data for 2015.

Though dozens of women have come forward in recent years with assault claims against the comedian dating back to the 1970s, the accuser in Pennsylvania's case is the only woman whose criminal claims are not barred by the statute of limitations.

Cosby, whose reputation as America's favorite TV dad has been irreparably sullied, has denied any wrongdoing and said every sexual encounter was consensual. However, Cosby has said he does not expect to testify.

Because of intense publicity surrounding the case, the search for a jury was moved from the Philadelphia suburbs to Pittsburgh, nearly 300 miles away, in hopes of finding people who had not already made up their minds about the comedian's guilt or innocence.

Almost half of the voters attorneys considered Wednesday for service in Bill Cosby's upcoming assault trial owned up to having already formed opinions about the case.

On Monday, almost a third of the potential jurors summoned said they had already formed an opinion of Cosby's guilt or innocence in the sexual assault allegations lodged against him. Cosby in sworn testimony has said he put his hand down Constand's trousers, but said she did not protest.

The anonymous jurors were picked from Allegheny County but will be sequestered on the other side of the state for the trial in Norristown starting June 5.

Cosby's lawyers had complained this week that prosecutors were trying to keep blacks off the jury with their seven strikes.

Cosby was arrested December 30, 2015, days before the 12-year statute of limitations on the crimes he's accused of expired. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.