Monday, 22 October, 2018

Cosby judge delivers 2 big victories to defense

Bill Cosby with new legal team Tom Mesereau left and Kathleen Bliss right leave the Montgomery County Courthouse on Aug. 22 in Norristown Pennsylvania Cosby due in Montgomery County court Thursday for final pretrial hearings
Julia Gonzales | 04 April, 2018, 01:31

Bill Cosby exits with his lawyer Tom Mesereau (left) following a pretrial hearing for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., on March 5. The camera shows the judge, prosecutors and defense lawyers, but not potential jurors who are being questioned as a group.

Cosby's lawyers had also used two strikes, both to block white women from serving. The panel so far has four men and three women.

All told, 12 jurors will be chosen along with six alternates.

The 80-year-old comedian is charged with drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

Cosby has denied allegations from more than 50 women that he sexually assaulted them.

Both women say they've read media reports about Cosby's case and the #MeToo anti-sexual assault movement.

Cosby's lawyers objected to having reporters in the courtroom because they feared it could hurt their ability to find a fair and impartial jury.

While these rulings have bolstered Cosby's chances of winning this case, jury selection has become a daunting hurdle that the defense team must overcome. 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". But Cosby's lawyers themselves blocked several white women from serving, and the judge rejected their argument about the prosecution. This time around the jurors are coming from Montgomery County just outside of Philadelphia, where Cosby has made his home for decades. He's pleaded not guilty.

Leyton Orient urge 'critically ill' Ray Wilkins to 'keep fighting'
The 61-year-old admitted being an alcoholic after he was arrested for drinking and driving back in 2013. His colleague at Talksport radio, Alan Brazil encouraged the football legend to keep fighting.

Also Tuesday, O'Neill ruled that lawyers may not mention at trial the pending lawsuits between Constand and Bruce L. Castor Jr., the former district attorney who declined to file charges against Cosby in 2005. The judge also helped the defense case by ruling that jurors can hear how much Cosby paid the accuser, Andrea Constand, in a 2006 civil settlement.

Cosby's defense has laid out their plan to portray the accuser as a greedy liar who framed the comedian to get rich. O'Neill has granted them permission to call five other Cosby accusers over defense objections.

As jury selection proceeded, The Associated Press and other news organizations challenged an arrangement that forces reporters to watch the proceedings on a closed-circuit feed from another courtroom.

Comedian Bill Cosby has arrived for the second day of jury selection in his retrial on sexual assault charges. Almost everyone else in the initial jury pool of 120 suburban Philadelphia residents indicated they knew about the charges against Cosby. His last trial in June 2017 ended in a mistrial after the jury could not reach a unanimous decision after 52 hours of deliberation. One juror said the panel was split 10-2 in favor of conviction, while another said the group was more evenly divided. O'Neill asked Monday's pool of prospective jurors if they had heard about the #MeToo movement and all 119 responded that they had, according to The New York Times.

One juror has been picked and key rulings are on the way in Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial.

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.

All but one of the people in the initial group of potential jurors said they were aware of the Me Too movement or the allegations it spurred against powerful entertainment figures. The young man said he had no knowledge of Cosby's case.

The newspaper does not normally identify victims of sex crimes without their consent but is using Constand's name because she has identified herself publicly.

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