By MICHAEL R. SISAK, The Associated Press
A man selected as a juror in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial thinks the comedian is guilty and wants the case to be over, according to a prospective juror who said the man offered his opinion as they chatted during jury selection.
Cosby’s lawyers seized on the alleged comment and asked April 6 that the juror be removed immediately from the retrial, which begins April 9 in suburban Philadelphia with opening statements.
Bill Cosby’s lawyers have asked Judge Steven O’Neill to remove a man selected as a juror in the sexual assault retrial after commenting that he thought Cosby was guilty. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, Pool)
They attached an affidavit from the prospective juror who talked to the man as an exhibit.
He is said to have stated: “I just think he’s guilty, so we can all be done and get out of here.”
If the juror isn’t removed, the defense lawyers said, Judge Steven O’Neill should question him to determine if he can be fair and impartial, or if he lied during the questioning that led to his selection. They also want the other jurors questioned to see if they were influenced by the man’s alleged comment.
Prosecutors had no comment on the jurors’ alleged conversation. Court officials didn’t immediately respond to messages about it.
The prospective juror said she didn’t know if the man was joking or serious. She said in her affidavit that some people being considered for the jury were sitting close enough to overhear the conversation and they may have heard the comments about Cosby.
There may have been one inconsistency about the juror: The prospective juror described him as appearing to be in his mid-20s, but the man picked as the 11th juror appeared to reporters to be middle-aged.
The prospective juror blowing the whistle on that juror is a Black woman who became the unwitting subject of a lengthy debate between the two legal sides after prosecutors used a challenge to remove her from consideration.
The woman had said she could ignore what she knew about the Cosby case and the #MeToo movement to serve as an impartial juror. She also said being a domestic violence victim wouldn’t affect her jury service.
Prosecutors didn’t give a reason for pulling the woman on April 4 and were not required to by law.
Cosby’s lawyers alleged prosecutors were discriminatory in wanting the woman off the case and later accused a member of the prosecution team of making a racially derogatory remark.
“By all appearances, she was a perfectly qualified juror who stated that she could be fair and impartial,” Cosby lawyer Kathleen Bliss said, arguing that there was no explanation for the woman’s removal “other than her race.”
That night, Cosby’s lawyers said, the prospective juror called Bliss’ office to report the 11th juror’s alleged comments.
The retrial jury is comprised of seven men and five women. Ten of them are White, including the 11th juror. Two of them are Black.