Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Hunt begins for 12th juror in Bill Cosby's sex assault trial

Roland Mccarthy | 25 May, 2017, 05:55

According to sources, the five selected judges last Monday will hear the trial of Bill Cosby's sexual assault case.

In the Cosby trial, scheduled for June 5, the pool of potential jurors is coming from Allegheny County because Cosby's attorneys argued that pretrial publicity would make it hard to find impartial jury candidates in Montgomery County, where Cosby lives. The 79-year-old comedian, a slender wooden cane often dangling at his side, mostly watched the proceedings unfold with an air of detachment, often staring toward the ceiling with his eyes closed.

Prosecutor Stewart Ryan denied race was the reason for striking the woman.

Cosby's lawyers on Tuesday accused prosecutors of deliberately excluding black jurors, a charge that O'Neill rejected absent further evidence.

"Based on previous experience with high profile cases, we estimate costs could be in the range of $100,000 to $200,000, depending on the length of the trial", said county spokeswoman Lorie Slass. The alternates, who listen to testimony with the main panel, can suddenly be cast into starring roles.

The authorities are hoping to have the place taken by the end of this week.

"It didn't like stand out in my head", one selected juror said of her exposure to reports of the case.

But moments later, things began to unravel.

The defense is crying foul after only one black person was seated among the first 11 jurors chosen.

On Tuesday, Cosby's attorney Brian McMonagle complained to Montgomery County Common Pleas Court judge Steven T. O'Neill that where weren't enough minorities on the jury. Lawyers then picked a white woman to replace him. The woman said her mother could care for the child during the two to three weeks the jury will be sequestered 300-miles away in suburban Philadelphia. She said Cosby gave her wine and pills that put her in a stupor before molesting her on his couch.

O'Neill, a folksy and animated jurist who spoke intimately with jurors, said the woman's response was "inspiring". The case is set for trial June 5 in suburban Phil.

On Tuesday, Bill Cosby's defense lawyers accused prosecutors of trying to block jurors of color from the mostly white jury panel that will rule his innocence or guilt. The alternates include four white men, one black woman and one black man.

The jurors range in age from young people who appeared to be in their 20s to an elderly man who walked with a cane.

No lawyers appeared for Choudhury, who claimed previous year he was almost bankrupt. Cosby has said the case may have racial overtones. They say one was a former Pittsburgh police detective who sued the city after she was arrested in a public scandal.

Cosby, who has been present in court for the selection of his jury, is always escorted by a member of his team. The attorneys sought his input on nearly every major decision. He was assisted by three associates: Emily Ryan, Amy Ziegler and Carrie Mason.

In another dollars-and-cents matter, officials said they will have to dig deeper into the county's pockets to financially underwrite the extra costs generated by the trial. Mason worked on the case of Scott Peterson, a California man convicted of killing his pregnant wife, Laci, in a case that became a tabloid sensation.

Cosby goes on trial June 5 in suburban Philadelphia.

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