Summary: The Bill Cosby retrial has begun in Pennsylvania.
Bill Cosby’s retrial for sexual assault opened on Monday with juror selection, and so far, at least one jury member has been chosen, according to Page Six.
The juror is a white man in his 20s, and he told prosecutors and Cosby’s defense team that he had never heard of Cosby allegations, which include dozens of stories from women who said he had drugged and sexually assaulted them over the past few decades.
During Cosby’s heyday, he was known as “America’s Dad” because of his wholesome image as Dr. Cliff Huxtable on the hit television program, “The Cosby Show.” However, in recent years, almost 60 women have come forward and accused the now 80-year-old comedian of inappropriate behavior that began as far back as the 1960s.
The majority of the women’s criminal complaints were outside of the statute of limitations, except for one by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand.
Constand said that in 2004 she went to Cosby’s home in Philadelphia and that he drugged and molested her when she was unconscious. She said that after the incident she maintained contact with him because of her job at Temple, where he was an alumnus and major donor.
Prosecutors in the Philadelphia-area tried Cosby last year for Constand’s sexual assault, and the trial resulted in a deadlocked jury. On Monday, the retrial began with jury selection, but the prosecutors and the defense found difficulty finding people who had no awareness of the accusations against Cosby or of what happened during his high-profile first trial.
According to Page Six, a total of 92 potential jurors were tossed by both sides, including a woman who said she and a close family member were victims of sexual assault. The woman said that she could be impartial in this case, but Cosby’s defense lawyers had her removed from the pool.
On Tuesday, 27 people are expected to return for more interviewing. Page Six said that 120 people were questioned in total on Monday and only one person said they were unaware of the #MeToo movement, a national conversation about sexual harassment and assault. Ten people said they had never heard of the claims of sexual assault against Cosby.
The trial is being overseen by Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill of Pennsylvania. Opening statements are scheduled for next Monday, and the trial is scheduled for May.
The Los Angeles Times noted that Cosby’s retrial will now have to face the #MeToo movement, which began late last year after Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was outed as a serial sexual abuser. The #MeToo movement has caused the downfall of numerous powerful men in all industries, including Senator Al Franken and talk show host Charlie Rose.
Daniel Medwed, a law professor at Northeastern University, told the L.A. Times that the #MeToo movement may provide more credibility to the women’s stories.
“If the obstacles of the prosecution at the first trial related to the credibility of the survivor and why Bill Cosby would act this way, then I think the #MeToo movement has provided a cultural context and validation of Constand’s account,” Medwed said.Â “The movement is a game changer in terms of the jury.”
Cosby has denied all allegations of sexual assault, stating that any sexual relationships he had outside his marriage were consensual.
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