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Jury Selection for Bill Cosby Rape Trial Starts
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Summary: The jury selection has begun for the Bill Cosby rape trial. 

Reports of Bill Cosby allegedly drugging and raping almost 60 women have been prevalent in the news, and it is now up to the prosecution and defense to find 12 suitable jury members to weigh in on the comedian’s rape trial with an impartial and fair point of view. Today, the search for the jury has begun for a trial that is set for June 5th in Norristown, PA, and so far, the process has raised some notable questions.


The New York Times asked, “Will the jury be dominated by African-Americans, who, Mr. Cosby’s lawyers may believe, could still hold affection for him after his decades as a major entertainer? Will his lawyers seek to select older, married males, or people who share other similar characteristics to Mr. Cosby, such as economic or social status?”

Besides the close watch of the selected jurors’ race, age, economic, and social status, the publication noted that another challenge the attorneys of the trial face is finding people who have not already made up their minds about Cosby, who has overall appeared hard and defensive in the face of the accusations.

Cosby has denied raping his accusers, and regarding the case going to trial, he stated he and the alleged victim, Andrea Constand, had had sex but it was consensual. To radio host Michael Smerconish, he said that he believed he was being poorly treated by the women who had come forward because of his race, a sentiment shared by his daughter Ensa Cosby.

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The New York Times said that another question arising during this jury selection is whether or not the attorneys involved can find jurors willing to view this criminal trial with a clean slate.

“And how much freedom will Judge O’Neill allow Mr. Cosby’s lawyers as they try to discover potential jurors who have not already made up their minds — and possibly set out arguments that may give an inkling of the aggressive strategy they intend to pursue in the courtroom?” The New York Times wrote.

Cosby has been accused of sexually assaulting dozens of women over the course of several decades, and he is now facing one criminal trial concerning his actions towards Temple University’s former employee, Andrea Constand. In January 2004, he had invited her to his home, and the two had had sex. Constand said that he had slipped her pills and took advantage of her when she was passed out. Cosby contends that she had consented to the sex.

In 2006, the two reached an undisclosed settlement and a criminal case was not pursued by the then-district attorney. However, in 2015, Philadelphia’s new district attorney Kevin Steele reopened the seemingly closed case, and Cosby, 79, is now being charged with aggravated indecent assault.

Starting on Monday, Judge Steven T. O’Neill, the defense, and the prosecutors are reviewing potential jurors from a list of registered voters and drivers in Allegheny County, the county of major Philadelphia’s cities, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

The jury selection process will most likely take several days to finish, according to The New York Times, and the lawyers have the difficult task of finding 12 jurors and six alternates who have been unpersuaded by the news and who are also available to be bused 300 miles east of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania to Norristown.

Judge O’Neill predicts that the trial could last two weeks. Cosby has stated recently that he does not plan to testify.

Journalists from almost a dozen media outlets will be allowed inside the courtroom, and they have been given strict instructions by Judge O’Neill not to tweet about the trial in real time.

Source: The New York Times

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