Attorneys representing Bill Cosby in his sexual assault retrial are pressing Judge Steven T. O’Neill to dismiss a newly minted juror because he proclaimed that the comedian is guilty.
Cosby’s attorneys, prosecutors and O’Neill met Friday during a closed session to discuss the explosive new problem that will delay the scheduled start of his trial Monday.
The revelation also comes amid more racial tension as a courtroom observer and a member of Cosby’s team claimed to overhear Assistant District Attorney Stuart Ryan object to the defense’s exasperation about the limited number of African Americans in the jury pool.
That situation exploded when Cosby attorney Kathleen Bliss challenged prosecutors for striking a potential Black juror who had answered all of the questions in a manner that allowed other selected jurors to be found acceptable to serve.
Kristen Feden, an African American who also serves as an ADA, angrily told the judge that the defense “already has two” Black jurors which triggered outrage that likened her comments to saying that Cosby should be happy with token blacks.
But it was Ryan’s alleged comment, “I’m tired of this Black s—,” that truly enraged the defense and shone a spotlight on the deep racial divide beginning to overshadow the case.
On Friday, Bliss and lead defense attorney Tom Mesereau were livid over juror No. 11’s comments after he was selected.
“Cosby is guilty,” the juror, a White man in his 40s, allegedly said while among a group of other potential jurors. The juror also said he knows or has a relationship with a local detective. In general voir dire, the man admitted he had heard about the case through media reports and already formed a biased opinion.
Further, the juror affirmatively answered that the nature of the charges against Cosby would prevent him from being fair and impartial and a close family member had previously been the victim of a sexual assault.
Prosecutors still selected the juror despite his statements that being sequestered would cause an undue hardship. When under oath, however, he changed his answers.
A source said if the juror isn’t stricken by the judge, Cosby’s team may move for a mistrial.
Cosby is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault that stems from a 2004 incident with former Temple University employee Andrea Constand. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.
His initial trial last year ended in June in a mistrial when the jury couldn’t reach a consensus.