Jury selection nearing an end in Cosby trial

Attorneys in the retrial of Bill Cosby selected a jury Wednesday, ending a three-day search that included allegations of racial discrimination.

Cosby faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Constand, who accused the 80-year-old of drugging and molesting her at his home in 2004. After the disagreement passed, five more jurors were picked to complete the jury of 12, which consists of seven men and five women, among the jurors, an African American man and an African American woman.

Cosby's lawyers had appeared ready to strike at the first instance of prosecutors blocking a black juror, producing a legal brief that argued the move violated a 32-year-old Supreme Court ruling that prohibits prosecutions from excluding prospective jurors due to their race.

Constand, a former Temple University staffer, testified for seven hours during the first trial claiming that Cosby gave her pills that rendered her unable to stop his advances, though she said she tried.

O'Neill called the jury-selection process "long and arduous".

A middle-aged white woman also picked as an alternate said she could put aside her thoughts that Cosby is guilty. The judge issued one caveat to the ruling, saying he could revisit his decision after Constand's testimony.

While most said they had heard about the allegations against Cosby as well as the #MeToo movement that has brought down powerful men in the entertainment industry with allegations of sexual assault or harassment, all said they could set that aside. Numerous alleged sexual predators who've been called out have been powerful or famous men like Cosby. He said prosecutors had no problem seating the two other black people who had appeared for individual questioning. Prosecutors denied race had anything to do with it. Cosby is black. One juror said the panel was split 10-2 in favor of conviction, while another said the group was more evenly divided.

All of the selected alternates indicated they had heard about Cosby's case beforehand, but it would not impact their ability to serve as a fair and impartial juror.

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O'Neill also hinted during a pretrial hearing last week that he could keep jurors from hearing Cosby's prior testimony in a deposition about giving quaaludes to women before sex.

The jury picked to decide Bill Cosby's fate in the first big trial of the #MeToo era mirrors the gender and racial makeup of the group that deadlocked in last year's trial.

Cosby, once revered as "America's Dad" for his family sitcom "The Cosby Show", says the encounter was consensual.

In all, prosecutors and the defense removed a total of 91 potential jurors before breaking on Monday.

Cosby's lawyers alleged a member of the prosecution team made a disparaging remark after prosecutors rejected one of the few black women considered for the case. Jackson says Constand once commented to her about setting up a "high-profile person" and filing a lawsuit. Montgomery County President Judge Thomas DelRicci agreed to move the camera to the back of the courtroom so the media could see the potential jurors.

Ms Constand's lawyer has said Ms Jackson is not telling the truth.

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