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08 April 2018, 01:31 | Ivan Casey
Bill Cosby arrives at court as sexual assault retrial begins
The final jury includes seven men and five women from Pennsylvania's Montgomery County, a suburban area north of Philadelphia.
The 80-year-old Cosby is charged with drugging and molesting a former Temple University athletics administrator at his home in 2004.
Mr O'Neill ruled that Marguerite Jackson can take the witness stand after he blocked her from giving evidence at the first trial, which ended in a hung jury, saying her account would be hearsay.
The prosecution's case will also unfold differently this time.
The majority of potential jurors summoned for the first trial said they had heard of the case, and almost half reported that they already had a fixed opinion about Cosby's guilt or innocence. Eight of the jurors picked this week are middle-aged men or women.
Defense attorney's claimed similar cases of discrimination during jury selection on Tuesday, claiming the prosecution was eliminating older white males from serving on the jury.
All 18 will be sequestered starting Sunday evening for the duration of what is expected to be a monthlong trial, scheduled to begin Monday.
Cosby is charged with drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home.
The identities of the individuals remain unknown, but is made up of five women and seven men.
A Philadelphia judge, meanwhile, threw out a former prosecutor's defamation lawsuit against Cosby's accuser.
Defense attorney Kathleen Bliss objected Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele's use of a peremptory strike - a chance given to each side to remove a juror without explanation - to dismiss a black woman as a potential juror.
Constand, 44, was first introduced to Cosby in 2002 by a mutual friend at Temple University's Liacouris Center, People previously reported.
O'Neill also ruled that the prosecution can present to jurors how much money Cosby paid Constand in a 2006 civil settlement.
More than half of the 120 potential jurors being questioned in Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial say they've already formed an opinion about the comedian's guilt or innocence. Prosecutors denied race had anything to do with it. Cosby is black. But he changed his mind following both written submissions and oral arguments at pretrial hearings last week. That brought the total number picked over three days to 12 - a full jury.
He has pleaded not guilty and says the sexual encounter was consensual.
As Wednesday's session got underway, a judge gave The Associated Press and other media organizations more access to jury selection.
The jury so far consists of six whites and two blacks. Cosby stumbled slightly getting out of an SUV and then put a hand up to say he was OK before walking into the courthouse.
In recent years, dozens of women publicly accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, up to and including rape, but allegations go back decades, and the vast majority won't be adjudicated because of statutes of limitations.
One was seated Monday, and two more jurors were picked Tuesday.
The judge last June declared a mistrial after more than 52 hours of jury deliberations over six days.
All but one of the people in the initial group of potential jurors said they were aware of the #MeToo movement or the allegations it spurred against powerful entertainment figures.
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