Bill Cosby and his legal team have gotten good news from the judge presiding over the Hollywood legend’s sexual assault retrial. The Associated Press reported that Judge Steven O’Neill will allow testimony previously barred in the first trial to be admissible. The evidence is said to be essential to winning the case.
The defense’s strategy is to convince the jury that Andrea Constand set out to frame a famous celebrity for monetary gain. Testimony from Marguerite Jackson will be offered as proof of Constand’s motives for targeting Cosby. Judge O’Neill had deemed Jackson’s testimony as hearsay in the first trial, but has now ruled to allow it.
In 2005, Constand filed a complaint with police accusing Cosby of sexual assault. Jackson will testify that Constand discussed her plan before filing the report. The following year, Cosby negotiated a settlement with his accuser. O’Neill has also ruled that the jury can be made aware of the financial details of that payout.
Prior deposition testimony where Cosby talked about giving quaaludes to women before having sex with them could be kept out of these proceedings. The judge has not yet ruled on the matter, but said that he would wait until the trial before making his decision.
While these rulings have bolstered Cosby’s chances of winning this case, jury selection has become a daunting hurdle that the defense team must overcome. Considering the overwhelming amount of media coverage surrounding the allegations against Cosby, it has been a challenge to find unbiased prospective jurors.
The Associated Press reported that only one juror was selected on Monday, compared to the five chosen last spring at the first trial. Nearly all of the other 119 people interviewed either knew about the charges and/or had already drawn a conclusion about Cosby’s innocence or guilt. O’Neill asked Monday’s pool of prospective jurors if they had heard about the #MeToo movement and all 119 responded that they had, according to The New York Times.
As Cosby and his spokesman Andrew Wyatt entered the Montgomery County Courthouse on Tuesday morning, a reporter asked what the entertainer’s thoughts were going into the day’s happenings. Wyatt responded that they hoped for selection of a “fair and impartial jury.” Based on Monday’s results, accomplishing that task could be an uphill battle.