Bill Cosby’s lawyers cried foul on Tuesday when they accused prosecutors of trying to keep black jurors off of his sexual assault.
“We believe this is systematic exclusion of African-Americans,” defense lawyer Brian McMonagle complained, lodging what’s known as a Batson challenge, reports NBC News.
The charge came after the Montgomery County district attorney’s struck two black women from the jury who gave similar answers to questions as two white jurors who wee accepted.
The office also reportedly used one of its seven peremptory challenges to remove a black woman with a scandal in her past.
Jurors cannot not be excluded on the basis of race or gender, yet it is difficult to prove that jurors are being removed on the basis of race.
The judge in the case said said he had decided to keep the woman on the anonymous jury because the prosecution had offered a “race-neutral” explanation, though he said the defense could present a statistical analysis of the prosecutions decisions to prove its bias point.
“We believe it is of paramount importance we seat a diverse jury,” McMonagle said, especially in light of the fact that the comedian is a black man accused to drugging and assaulting a white woman, given the history of racial and sexual politics in this country.
Cosby, 79, is facing a sexual assault charge in the case of former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, who claims Cosby drugged and molested her in 2004.
His trial is set to begin June 5 in Montgomery County, in the suburbs of Philadelphia.