Jury selection in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial was halted Wednesday after the defense alleged discrimination when prosecutors excluded a black woman from being seated on the jury.
The attorney for the 80-year-old comedian claimed the prosecution was guilty of “racial animus” after prosecutors excused a middle-aged black women as a potential juror, according to CBS Philly. The woman was the only African-American who was individually interviewed from the second pool of 120 possible jurors.
“She’s the only African-American left,” Cosby’s attorney Kathleen Bliss said. “The defendant, who faces the rest of his life in jail, is an African-American.”
However, the prosecution pushed back on the claims, noting that two blacks had already been seated on the panel. Judge Steven O’Neill said he did not believe there was “discriminatory intent,” but stopped jury selection for three hours to consider the claims.
Defense attorney’s claimed similar cases of discrimination during jury selection on Tuesday, claiming the prosecution was eliminating older white males from serving on the jury. O’Neill was not swayed and struck down the argument.
So far eight people have been selected — six whites and two blacks (four men and four women) — to decide Cosby’s fate as he once again faces charges that he allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted a former Temple University employee at this home in Philadelphia in 2004.