Jury Set, Evidence on Ex-DA Excluded in Cosby Trial

Bill Cosby waves to fans as he arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse on April 5, 2018, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Corey Perrine)

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CN) — With Bill Cosby’s retrial set to kick off next week, a judge ruled Friday that the newly seated jury will not hear evidence about the former district attorney who refused to prosecute the same case in 2005.

The brief orders from Judge Steven O’Neill came one day after the parties settled on a jury of 10 white and two black people to determine whether Cosby drugged and assaulted Andrea Constand at his Cheltenham home over a decade ago.

Cosby’s last trial in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas ended in a mistrial last year after the last jury, which featured a similar racial make-up, failed to reach a verdict after five days of deliberations.

The jury for Cosby’s retrial will feature seven men and five women.

Before opening arguments begin Monday, Judge O’Neill granted two motions by the prosecution to exclude evidence about Bruce Castor, who had been the Montgomery County DA in 2005 when Constand first brought charges against Cosby.

Castor dropped the case after four weeks, but Judge O’Neill sided with new DA Kevin Steele that Castor’s reasoning is irrelevant.

Steele used Castor’s failure to prosecute Cosby as a focal point in his 2015 campaign for the DA’s office. A second order by O’Neill on Friday bars mention of such campaign details.

Defense attorneys for the 80-year-old Cosby accused the prosecution of race-motivated jury strikes in a Thursday brief.

Though Cosby’s last trial lasted six days, Judge O’Neill has blocked off a month for the upcoming proceedings.

The previous jury was sequestered near the courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, over 300 miles away from their homes in Allegheny County. This panel of jurors, however, are all Montgomery County residents. In addition to the 12-person jury, the parties selected three black individuals and three white as alternates.

Cosby’s publicist Andrew Wyatt has said he hopes the jurors will remain “fair and impartial.”

“We would want them to erase everything they heard outside this courtroom when they come in for Monday,” Wyatt said.

Cosby faces three counts of sexual assault against Constand, whom he met through Temple University, where Cosby was a trustee and Constand served as director of operations for the women’s basketball team.

Thirty-five years Cosby’s junior and a lesbian, Constand says she looked up to Cosby as a mentor, but Cosby says they had a consensual sexual relationship.

He says the three pills he gave Constand on the night of their disputed sexual encounter were Benadryl.

Not far from Norristown in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, a judge there ruled Tuesday against defamation claims that former DA Castor brought against Constand’s attorneys. The court dismissed Castor’s claims against Constand herself a month earlier. Constand’s claims against Castor meanwhile remain pending.

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