PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The names of the Allegheny County jurors who heard Bill Cosby‘s criminal case remained confidential Tuesday, but there is a chance that could change on Wednesday morning.
Arguments were heard late Tuesday afternoon. Several news organizations, including CBS Corporation, are asking the judge to make them public.
The prosecution and the defense want the names kept private until after the next trial.
In Pennsylvania, the law allows juror names to be released after a trial, but the judge has discretion to keep the names under seal if the publicity would prejudice an important right.
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and Bill Cosby’s defense team believe that making the names public now would prevent the second trial from being fair because jurors may have fears of being second-guessed by the press and could be tempted to reach a verdict based on factors that are not evidence.
There is nothing preventing the jurors from speaking to the media, if they choose. Contrary to popular belief, they cannot discuss what happened between them during their 52 hours of deliberations.
“We were happy to take a resolution from the jury that was something less than they found evidence to convict our client,” said Angela Agrusa, one of Cosby’s attorneys.
Jurors can share their opinions on the evidence in the courtroom, but what happened in the jury room and the votes cast must remain a secret. The judge has to balance two constitutional issues: the right to a free press and Bill Cosby’s right to a fair trial.
The last trial does not count and the parties are preparing to go at it again.
“We hope that moving forward in this case sends a strong message that victims of these type of crimes can come forward and be heard,” said Kevin Steele, District Attorney of Montgomery County.
A ruling is expected around 9 a.m. Wednesday.