The #MeToo movement surfaced as a topic in Bill Cosby’s retrial on sexual assault charges as jury selection began today.
The AP reports that the #MeToo movement “has pierced the consciousness of the men and women who will sit in judgment of the 80-year-old comedian. All but one of the 120 potential jurors who answered questions about their background and views told a judge they had heard or seen something about #MeToo, the cultural campaign that’s been exposing sexual misconduct in the entertainment and news industries.”
Cosby is charged with drugging and sexually molesting Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. At the time Constand was a Temple University women’s basketball administrator.
The AP reports that jury questioning revealed some potential witnesses, including Dawn Staley, who was Constand’s boss at Temple. Staley is a high-profile figure in women’s basketball today as the head coach at South Carolina, having led the Gamecocks to the NCAA title last year.
Also emerging as potential witnesses were Temple board President Patrick O’Connor, who represented Cosby in Constand’s 2005-06 lawsuit against him; and Judge Risa Vetri Ferman, the former district attorney who charged Cosby just before she left office in 2015.
“Jury selection got off to an exceedingly slow start, with a single juror seated and three-quarters of the pool dismissed for cause — primarily because the prospective jurors already had formed an opinion about Cosby’s guilt or innocence,” the AP reports. “In contrast, five jurors were picked on opening day of Cosby’s first trial.”
The one juror selected today “indicated he had no knowledge of the case and wouldn’t let what he’s heard about #MeToo influence his ability to be impartial,” the AP reports.