Jury chosen for Bill Cosby sex assault trial has 2 black members

Emmett Rice
May 28, 2017

All 12 jurors and six alternates have been selected for Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial in two weeks, following three days of painstaking jury selection some 300 miles from where the actor-comedian will face justice.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The sex assault case against Bill Cosby turns on serious questions about his actions with women behind closed doors, but the comedian and others unexpectedly fell into laughter Wednesday during questioning of one potential juror.

The jury includes four white women, six white men, one black woman and one black man.

More than 50 women have made similar accusations against Cosby, 79, but the judge is allowing only one of them to testify. But when prosecutors on Tuesday moved to disqualify a black woman, defense lawyers objected, saying the jury, which has one black woman, was not diverse enough to give Cosby a fair trial.

The Montgomery County district attorney's office, which declined to prosecute Cosby in 2005, brought charges a decade later as dozens of women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to the 1960s.

The victim, who has not been named, had been expected to testify if the case went to trial, according to Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for the Los Angeles city attorney. One-third of the jury pool members said they were likely to believe police testimony, almost one-fourth had been convicted of crimes and almost one-fifth said someone close to them had been sexually assaulted. In an interview, Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, who consulted for the defense on jury matters for the O.J. Simpson trial, said "celebrity-obsessed" African American men could be ideal jurors for Cosby, especially if they'd watched or listened to trials involving celebrities.

Per The Times, the original pool of 100 jurors included 15 people of color.

Cosby, along with his attorneys and prosecutors, will be back in court today to complete the jury selection in Pittsburgh.

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The jurors will be bused 483 kilometres east and sequestered for the duration of the trial. That ratio is close to a 2015 census report that found 13 percent of Allegheny County residents identify as black.

Five men and one woman will fill in as alternate jurors if needed.

The fireworks began when a potential juror, a graying African American woman who complained of bad knees, strode into the room and took a seat at a long table across from O'Neill.

At the end of the day Tuesday, three white women, one black woman, one black man, and seven white men had been chosen to sit on the 12-person jury.

See what Cosby's daughter had to say about the controversy in the BET Breaks video, above.

The trial will take place in Montgomery County, where Cosby had invited Andrea Constand to his home in 2004.

Dozens of other women have come forward in recent years to accuse Cosby of similar sexual abuse, but Constand's allegations are the only ones to result in criminal charges, in part because numerous other claims stretch back decades. If convicted, Cosby, who is now 79 years old, could serve 10 years in prison.

Cosby has pleaded not guilty to three charges of aggravated indecent assault, claiming any sexual contact or drug consumption was consensual.

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