Prosecutors and the defense began picking a jury for Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial Monday in a #MeToo era that could make the task more hard.
Judge Steven O'Neill also helped the defence by ruling that jurors can hear how much Cosby paid accuser Andrea Constand in a 2006 civil settlement.
Bill Cosby's defense team will be allowed to seek testimony from a woman whose statements may undermine prosecutors' key witness in the comedian's upcoming retrial on charges of aggravated indecent assault.
Jackson's testimony was crucial to a defence plan to portray Constand as a greedy liar. The woman said that she could be impartial in this case, but Cosby's defense lawyers had her removed from the pool.
Jackson was initially not permitted to testify during the first trial after Constand claimed to not know her.
Also Tuesday, O'Neill ruled that lawyers may not mention at trial the pending lawsuits between Constand and Bruce L. Castor Jr., the former district attorney who declined to file charges against Cosby in 2005. He said he won't rule on that until it is brought up at the retrial.
While these rulings have bolstered Cosby's chances of winning this case, jury selection has become a daunting hurdle that the defense team must overcome. All told, 12 jurors will be chosen along with six alternates.
Jackson, according to the affidavit, recalled being on a trip to Rhode Island and rooming with Constand and watching a television news report "about a prominent person who had been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting women". Juror Bobby Dugan said he wanted to convict Cosby on two of the three counts he faces, based on Cosby's own past statements, not because of the testimony of either woman.
Actor and comedian Bill Cosby arrives, with his publicist Andrew Wyatt, for jury selection for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. April 3, 2018.
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Cosby's second trial, scheduled to start next week, will be the first high-profile sexual assault trial of the #MeToo era. Almost everyone else in the initial jury pool of 120 suburban Philadelphia residents indicated they knew about the charges against Cosby. Of the 120 brought into the courtroom Monday, 110 noted they had knowledge of the allegations against Cosby, and 68 indicated they had already decided on his innocence or guilt.
That left just 27 people invited back for individual questioning on Tuesday as prosecutors and Cosby's lawyers work to fill 17 remaining jury spots.
This time around, the jury for the retrial comes from the Philadelphia suburbs.
"Since Cosby's first go-round, all courtroom participants - jurors, attorneys, judge - have been immersed in an intensive course on sexual violation", Ms Deborah Tuerkheimer, a law professor at Northwestern University said, "including the kind of sexual assault inflicted by mentors". He says the sexual encounter was consensual.
Veteran lawyers and jury consultants say #MeToo could cut both ways for Cosby, making some potential jurors more hostile and others more likely to think men are being unfairly accused.
Jury selection got underway Monday, with all but one potential juror telling a judge they've heard or seen something about the #MeToo campaign exposing sexual misconduct in the news and entertainment industries.
When the details Cosby revealed of the evening did not quite jive with the more limited version that Constand could remember, investigators made a decision to proceed with a trial.
The former TV star once revered as "America's Dad" for his family sitcom "The Cosby Show" wore a dark suit with a trench coat draped across his legs and a thin wooden cane in his hand as O'Neill questioned potential jurors.