Bill Cosby defence team alleges discrimination in jury selection

Bill Cosby arrives at court as sexual assault retrial begins

Bill Cosby arrives at court as sexual assault retrial begins

After interviews with jurors were delayed and Judge Steven O'Neill said a separate hearing might be required, Cosby's attorneys relented and agreed to move forward with jury selection.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby arrives for jury deliberations for the seventh day of his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 13, 2017. Cosby's lawyers had accused prosecutors of racial discrimination Wednesday for excluding a black woman from the panel.

The juror selected Monday was described as a young man who knew nothing about Cosby's case, the Associated Press reported.

So far, four women and four men have been empaneled, with the eighth - a middle-aged white woman - being seated early Wednesday. All but two are white.

A dozen people were invited back for individual questioning on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) as the prosecution and defence looked to fill the remaining spots.

A second group of 120 potential jurors was to be brought to the courthouse on Tuesday. But on one specific visit to his home in 2004, Cosby gave her "three blue pills" that blurred her vision and made her feel as though she was "in and out" [of consciousness], according to court documents. She replied, "bright eyed and bushy tailed".

Cosby has pleaded not guilty to charges he drugged and molested Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. She was 29 at the time and served as director of operations for the university's women's basketball team.

Bill Cosby's lawyers are alleging a member of the prosecution team made a disparaging remark after prosecutors removed a black woman from consideration as a prospective juror in the comedian's sexual assault retrial.

Jackson claims Constand, who is a former university employee, told her she could falsely accuse a wealthy man of sexual assault for money.

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In the retrial, a judge said Cosby's defense can disclose how much Constand was paid in the civil settlement. Jackson was not permitted to testify in Cosby's first trial past year.

After a break, defense attorney Bliss argued that she was "suspicious" of the intent behind the strike.

The jury questioning revealed some potential witnesses, including Dawn Staley, the SC women's basketball coach who was Ms Constand's boss at Temple; Temple board President Patrick O'Connor, who represented Cosby in Ms Constand's 2005-06 lawsuit against him; and Judge Risa Vetri Ferman, the former district attorney who charged Cosby just before she left office in 2015.

Jackson, a longtime Temple official, has said that she and Constand worked closely together, had been friends and had shared hotel rooms several times. Constand stated that a "high-profile" person did "something similar" to her. Jackson told her that she should have reported it. He has denied the charge and said any sexual encounters he ever had with Constand were consensual.

Jackson's availability as a witness for Cosby could be crucial to a defence plan to attack Constand's credibility.

Those witnesses are expected to testify about similar alleged sexual assaults as prosecutors try to show that Cosby engaged in a pattern of misconduct.

The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

As Wednesday's session got underway, a judge gave The Associated Press and other media organizations more access to jury selection.

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