Bill Cosby's lawyers accuse prosecutors of blocking Black jurors

Bill Cosby's lawyers accuse prosecutors of blocking Black jurors

Bill Cosby's lawyers accuse prosecutors of blocking Black jurors

Jury selection in Cosby's sexual assault case was completed on Wednesday. Six alternates were also selected Wednesday, four white men, one black woman and one black man. One of Cosby's daughters, Ensa, has said that the complaints against Cosby by many women were racially motivated, and in a radio interview last week - his first in two years, made as his lawyers said they sought to change the public's perception of him - Cosby said he thought race might be a factor.

On Tuesday, Cosby's lawyers complained that prosecutors were purposely trying to keep blacks off the jury using their seven peremptory strikes.

Constand came forward with the allegations in 2005, but then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor declined to file charges, citing a lack of evidence.

Charges were ultimately dismissed, as was a subsequent civil lawsuit brought by the woman and others against the city of Pittsburgh.

The comedian, once known as America's Dad for his beloved portrayal of Dr. Cliff Huxtable on 'The Cosby Show, ' is charged with three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault.

Cosby, 79, is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former basketball coach at his Temple University alma mater, at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Others were sent home later because they had relatives who were crime victims, or an ill spouse or no one to watch their dog.

Of the panel, two jurors - one man and one woman, both in their 30s - are black, while the rest are white.

The jury makeup is 17 percent black, higher than the 13 percent black population in Allegheny County.

The first 11 jurors were chosen fairly quickly from a pool of 100 over the course of two days.

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. Cosby has called the encounter consensual. The jury from Pittsburgh will be sequestered almost 300 miles from home.

The judge meanwhile removed a while male juror chosen Monday for undisclosed personal reasons. The defense cites legal experts who say Cosby will benefit from having blacks on the jury.

Cosby has denied any wrongdoing.

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.

At the same time, she said, Cosby is hardly the average black defendant.

The 12 jurors who will determine whether or not Bill Cosby is guilty of sexual assault have been selected.

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.

Numerous themes that will undergird Cosby's trial once testimony begins June 5 - sex, race and the influence of media coverage - were present over three days of tense questioning of jurors.

Cosby was arrested December 30, 2015, days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired.

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