Judge orders release of names of jurors in Bill Cosby trial

Jun 22, 2017, 01:47

From Buzzfeed to the New York Times, a coalition of news organizations fought in court Tuesday to learn the names of the jurors who deadlocked on Bill Cosby's sexual-assault trial.

The judge stated jurors may not discuss what was said in the jury room during deliberations.

Constand's 12-year-old police complaint against Cosby went to trial this month and ended Saturday with a hung jury.

Judge Steven O'Neill said Tuesday that he promised jurors privacy when they were selected.

Alternate juror Mike McCloskey said Monday he was "ridiculously sick" when he found out the main jury couldn't reach a verdict.

Jurors deliberated more than 52 hours over six days before telling a judge they couldn't break their deadlock. He says jurors may not discuss what other jurors said during deliberations. Like the judge, they worry about finding 18 unbiased jurors for the retrial of the case, given the worldwide coverage of the comedian's first trial.

The judge also said he had heard anecdotally that at least one juror had been approached by a reporter since returning home to Allegheny County and that another had been offered "high sums" of money to appear on a television news broadcast.

Pennsylvania law considers the identities of jurors to be public information but grants judges discretion to keep them under wraps under certain conditions.

O'Neill's comments came during an hourlong hearing on a motion by media outlets, including Calkins Media, to release the names.

Cosby, 79, is facing a second trial for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home near Philadelphia in 2004. He plans to retry the case within four months.

Prosecutors are fighting to keep the jurors' identities a secret, arguing in court documents Monday that releasing them would result in a "publicity onslaught" and make picking a jury for the second trial more hard.

The experts are divided over whether a different prosecution strategy in the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby will produce a verdict - and just what that verdict might be - but we're going to find out, apparently.

Prosecutors worry that releasing the jurors' identities will make picking a jury for the second trial more hard.

"It can never be clearer that if you speak up, you could be chilling the justice system in the future if jurors are needed in this case", O'Neill told them. "What exactly are we afraid of here?" "The qualified right to juror names was meant to promote fairness and impartiality in the justice system, not undermine it".

In this combination of file photos, entertainer Bill Cosby pauses during an interview in Washington on November 6, 2014, and Andrea Constand poses for a photo in Toronto on August 1, 1987. He has denied attacking her and maintained throughout his trial that their sexual liaison was consensual.

The Montgomery County district attorney intends to retry the celebrity on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

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