Culture&Arts

This ruling in Bill Cosby's retrial could undermine prosecutors' main witness

This ruling in Bill Cosby's retrial could undermine prosecutors' main witness

O'Neill is expected to rule if Cosby's lawyers can call a witness who says accuser Andrea Constand talked about framing a celebrity so she could sue and get money.

The former TV star once revered as "America's Dad" for his family sitcom "The Cosby Show" wore a dark suit with a trench coat draped across his legs and a thin wooden cane in his hand as O'Neill questioned potential jurors.

The ruling to allow Margo Jackson's testimony came on the second day of jury selection for the second trial where the 80-year-old entertainer will face charges that he sexually assaulted a staffer more than a decade ago at his alma mater, Temple University in Philadelphia.

Constand's attorney stated that Jackson is "not telling the truth" about his client allegedly revealing she wanted to make up the claims and was out for money.

O'Neill's ruling to allow Marguerite Jackson to take the witness stand was at odds with his decision to block her from testifying at the first trial, which ended in a hung jury.

Constand, a former Temple University athletic department employee, accused Cosby of having inappropriate sexual contact with her at his Cheltenham home after plying her with blue pills and wine sometime between January and February 2004.

A judge ruled on Tuesday that an ex-Temple University employee, Marguerite Jackson, who claims fellow former Temple employee Andrea Constand, 44, told her she meant to fabricate sex assault claims as a way to make money, will be able testify at trial.

The judge presiding over Bill Cosby's felony sexual-assault trial handed the defense a big win today. Jurors also heard testimony from Constand's mother, Gianna Constand, and recorded phone conversations between Gianna and Cosby where Cosby offered to pay for Andrea to go to back to school. Five of the jurors are white and two are black.

Three-quarters of them were sent home for cause - the majority because they said they already have formed an opinion about Cosby's guilt or innocence.

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A woman who says Bill Cosby's sexual assault accuser confided in her about a plan to fabricate such allegations can testify at the comedian's retrial, a judge ruled Monday. That ruling is subject to change based on Constand's testimony, O'Neill said.

A woman walking into the suburban Philadelphia courthouse with Cosby Tuesday said they are looking for fair and impartial jurors. Another group of 120 potential jurors also was also being brought in, in case they do not make the cut.

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. He says the encounter was consensual.

Picking a jury has proven particularly tough after the #MeToo movement started toppling famous men in rapid succession months after Cosby's first trial ended in a deadlock.

Last year's trial was mostly a he-said-she-said. The lone person who claimed ignorance on #MeToo was not invited back.

In all, prosecutors and the defence removed a total of 91 potential jurors before breaking for the day, leaving only 28 from this group to fill the remaining 17 slots.

The Cosby jury will consist of 12 jurors and six alternates, all of whom will be sequestered in a local hotel as the first panel was.

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


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