PITTSBURGH (AP) — Bill Cosby’s lawyers accused Pennsylvania prosecutors of trying to “systematically” keep blacks off the jury after prosecutors used their strikes to keep two black women off the panel.
Judge Steven O’Neill for now rejected the argument after prosecutors said the second woman was a former detective who had sued Pittsburgh and may have an anti-government bias.
The 11 people chosen so far include one black juror. Lawyers return Wednesday to seek the final juror and six alternates.
O’Neill said he would revisit the issue if defense lawyer Brian McMonagle offered statistical evidence to back his discrimination complaint.
The 100 people summoned to the Allegheny County courthouse so far included 16 people of color. A new jury pool will be summoned Wednesday..
A black woman who said she knows only “basic information” about the case and a white man who initially expressed a tendency to believe police are now on the panel.
The male juror said he can put that aside if instructed to do so, and defense lawyers accepted him on the panel.
The jury so far consists of six men and five women. Only one of them is black. Cosby has said he believes the case may have racial overtones.
Lawyers need 12 jurors and six alternates total for the trial starting June 5 near Philadelphia.
Cosby is accused of drugging and molesting a woman at his home in 2004.
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