A jury of seven men and five women—10 of them white, two of them black—was seated Wednesday to decide Bill Cosby's fate after a day marked by defense accusations of racial discrimination. Cosby's lawyers alleged a member of the prosecution team made a disparaging remark after a black woman was removed from consideration to serve on the jury in the 80-year-old comedian's retrial on sexual assault charges. The defense didn't reveal in open court what they claim had been said, but sought to use the remark as evidence that prosecutors illegally removed the woman from the jury pool on the basis of her race. Prosecutors pushed back, noting two black jurors had been seated, and the judge said he didn't believe the prosecution had any "discriminatory intent." Cosby's lawyers eventually relented, reports the AP.
Once jury selection resumed, three white men and a white woman were quickly placed on the panel. That brought the total number picked over three days to 12—a full jury. Six alternates also have to be picked. The racial and gender makeup of this jury is identical to the one that failed to reach a verdict in last year's trial. The battle over the black juror's removal highlighted a vast racial disparity in the suburban Philadelphia jury pool that limited the number of black people available for consideration. Just 10 of about 240 prospective jurors questioned on the first three days of jury selection were black, or about 4.2%. The black population in Montgomery County is about 9.6% black, per the latest US Census estimates. Cosby is accused of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.
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