Why Bill Cosby's trial will be different this time

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There are seven men and five women.

The 80-year-old entertainer has denied drugging and molesting a woman at his home in 2004.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, who is leading the prosecution, called the allegation of racism "ludicrous", pointing out that two of eight jurors impaneled are African-American.

The prosecution pointed to the already appointed jurors to defend themselves against those claims.

Veteran lawyers and jury consultants say #MeToo will make jury selection more complex and raise the stakes even higher.

Cosby is charged with drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

They claim the prosecution team made a disparaging remark after a black woman was removed from consideration.

The 80-year-old comedian's lawyers are trying to use the remark as evidence that prosecutors were discriminatory in wanting the juror off the case.

Kathleen Bliss, an attorney for Mr. Cosby, also accused prosecutors of making a racially offensive comment that was overheard by a member of the defense team.

O'Neill says individual questioning of potential jurors will take place directly in front of reporters. O'Neill ordered both lawyers to his chambers to discuss the matter.

Bill Cosby's lawyers challenged the prosecution's exclusion of a black woman from serving on the jury at his sexual assault retrial, alleging on Wednesday (Thursday NZ Time) that the decision was made on the basis of her race.

Cosby's lawyers had appeared ready to strike at the first instance of prosecutors blocking a black juror, producing a legal brief that argued the move violated a 32-year-old Supreme Court ruling that prohibits prosecutors from excluding prospective jurors due to their race. Prosecutors did not have to give a reason for wanting her removed. One juror was chosen Monday and six on Tuesday.

Castor was DA in 2005 when Constand first told police that Cosby had drugged and molested her. Castor ended his investigation into Cosby after four weeks, announcing the comedian wouldn't be charged because the evidence showed both parties "could be held in less than a flattering light". He has pleaded not guilty.

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The first juror picked on Monday said he did not know anything about Cosby's case.

Reporters are watching the proceedings on a closed-circuit feed from an adjacent courtroom. The camera showed the judge, prosecutors and defence lawyers, but not potential jurors who were being questioned as a group. More than 180 potential jurors have been summoned to appear at the Montgomery County Courthouse for screening.

Jury selection resumes for a fourth day on Thursday as the prosecution and defense work to select six alternates.

The defense never revealed what they claim was said and agreed to pick more jurors.

Cosby is accused of molesting former Temple University worker Andrea Constand in 2004. One juror said the panel was split 10-2 in favor of conviction, while another said the group was more evenly divided.

Cosby's lawyers scored a pair of rulings Tuesday crucial to their strategy of painting his accuser as a money-grubbing liar.

Bill Cosby, right, arrives for his sexual assault case spokesperson Andrew Wyatt, center, at the Montgomery County Courthouse, April 4, 2018, in Norristown, PA.

Seven jurors have been picked so far.

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.

Judge Steven O'Neill said Monday that Cosby's lawyers objected to the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association's request because they feared it could hurt their ability to find a fair and impartial jury.

The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

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