Jurors and Alternates in Place For Cosby Sex Assault Case

Defense raises race bias in Cosby jury selection process

11 people seated on Cosby jury; defense sees race bias

The panel that will decide Bill Cosby's fate in his sex assault trial began to take shape Monday with the selection of five jurors, three white men and two white women.

O'Neill is allowing only one of them to testify at the June 5 trial in suburban Philadelphia.

Still, Cosby thanked the people of Allegheny County, describing them as "wonderful" when he departed the downtown Pittsburgh court house just after 6 p.m.

Cosby's attorneys contended that a majority white jury would be biased against their client, since some of his alleged victims are white.

The jurors selected over three days included a black woman who said she knew only "basic information" about the case, a white man who initially expressed a tendency to believe police and two people who said they don't read or watch the news.

Currently, the Cosby jury has 11 people seated, 10 of them white and one of them black. Cosby's lawyers had asked for an outside jury because the case was a 2015 campaign issue in Montgomery County, where Cosby is accused of drugging and molesting a Temple University employee in 2004.

In the end, all but one member of the panel said they were at least somewhat familiar with the allegations against Cosby.

The area around Pittsburgh was chosen as as source of jurors at the request of Cosby's legal team, who were concerned about the interest that politicians elsewhere in Pennsylvania have shown in the case.

"It is a terrific jury made up of people from all demographics all over Allegheny County", he said. The percentage of African Americans in the final composition of the jury actually slightly exceeds that of Allegheny County, where the pool was drawn - 16 percent of the jury is black while the county is 13 percent black.

More than 50 women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, but this is the only criminal trial he's faced so far.

Crucially, black jurors were also named as the first and second members of a 6-person group of alternates.

The jurors will be bused 483 kilometres east and sequestered for the duration of the trial. The judge, though, found that prosecutors had other valid reasons to strike two black women from the jury pool earlier this week.

The lawyers return to court on Wednesday in Pittsburgh to pick a 12th juror and six alternates.

Another woman, chosen to take his place, said she could serve on the jury despite having a 2-year-old child at home. One-third of the jury pool members said they were likely to believe police testimony, almost one-fourth had been convicted of crimes and almost one-fifth said someone close to them had been sexually assaulted. One of them, a former Pittsburgh police officer, had been involved in civil suit against the city after she was implicated but ultimately cleared in a timesheet scandal.

Cosby has denied any wrongdoing. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. More than 80 percent of Monday's jury pool said they were familiar with the case, and two-thirds said it would be hard to spend several weeks sequestered across the state.

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