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08 April 2018, 01:35 | Ruben Stone
Among the accusers of Bill Cosby at his retrial will be the former model Janice Dickinson
The new trial is scheduled to start April 9 and jury selection has been under way since Monday, with eight jurors seated by midday Wednesday.
Bill Cosby's lawyers scored a pair of rulings crucial to their strategy of casting the 80-year-old entertainer as the victim of a shakedown scheme involving false accusations of sexual assault, but they could not get the one prospective juror who seemed most willing to consider that idea.
The comedian denies the claims against him and his defense argued at his first trial that he and Constand had consensual relations.That trial, which took place past year, ended in a hung jury. But they say they haven't formed an opinion and can serve as fair and impartial jurors.
Although Montgomery County's population is 10% black, the jury pool has not reflected the demographics of this Philadelphia suburb.
Judge Steven O'Neill, clearly annoyed by the defense's objections, said he didn't see a reason to stop the selection process.
A major disagreement came in a challenge from Cosby's lawyers, who claimed that the prosecution had objected to the inclusion of a black woman on the jury because of her race. The judge said he didn't believe the prosecution had any "discriminatory intent" but halted the third day of jury selection to consider the defence argument.
The judge told jurors the trial will last about a month.
After they emerged, Cosby's lawyers said they weren't backing down but had agreed to set the issue aside so that jury selection could proceed.
As jury selection proceeded, The Associated Press and other news organizations challenged an arrangement that forces reporters to watch the proceedings on a closed-circuit feed from another courtroom.
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Nearly 50 women have now accused Cosby of some form of sexual assault or misconduct, with some allegations going back several decades.
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.
A dozen people were invited back for individual questioning Wednesday as the prosecution and defense look to fill 11 remaining spots.
The next day, the prosecution used one of its challenges to strike a black woman. For the retrial, O'Neill has ruled jurors can hear from five additional accusers, giving prosecutors a chance to portray Cosby - the former TV star once revered as "America's Dad" for his family sitcom "The Cosby Show" - as a serial predator.
Jackson, a longtime Temple University official, has said that she and Constand worked closely together, had been friends and had shared hotel rooms several times.
"Crying by men and by women and more than one", he said.
The saga began this morning at the Montgomery County Courthouse here in Norristown, PA, after a middle-aged black woman was dismissed as a potential juror by prosecutors.
The Associated Press doesn't typically identify people who say they're victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.
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