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newsmakers

Cosby judge delivers 2 victories to defense

NORRISTOWN, Pa.

As jury selection picked up speed, the judge in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial gave his legal defense a huge lift Tuesday with two rulings that could bolster the 80-year-old comedian’s efforts to show his accuser made up the allegations against him in hopes of a big payday.

Judge Steven O’Neill said the defense can call a witness who says Cosby’s accuser talked about framing a celebrity before she lodged sexual-abuse allegations against Cosby in 2005. The judge also helped the defense case by ruling that jurors can hear how much Cosby ultimately paid the accuser, Andrea Constand, in a 2006 civil settlement.

The rulings came ahead of a productive second day of jury selection in suburban Philadelphia, with a half-dozen jurors picked by midday to bring the total number to seven. Five of the jurors picked so far are white and two are black, with four men and three women.

O’Neill’s ruling to allow Marguerite Jackson to take the witness stand was at odds with his decision to block her from testifying at the first trial, which ended in a hung jury.

The Cosby jury will consist of 12 jurors and six alternates.

Markle to leave TV show with a wedding

NEW YORK

Real life will imitate art this spring at the USA series “Suits” when series regular Meghan Markle bids farewell to the legal drama in a wedding – and then goes off to marry her prince in real life.

Show creator and show runner Aaron Korsh has written an on-screen wedding for Markle’s paralegal-turned-lawyer Rachel Zane, who will finally exchange vows during the April 25 season seven finale with her longtime love Mike Ross, played by Patrick Adams. The two have been lovebirds for years and had one previous wedding date collapse.

Both actors will then exit the show, which starts filming season eight this month.

The wedding will be a sort of dress rehearsal for Markle’s real one to Prince Harry at Britain’s Windsor Castle on May 19.

‘Roseanne’ wasn’t just a hit on its first night

NEW YORK

“Roseanne” wasn’t just a hit on opening night. The revived ABC comedy had legs.

The Nielsen company said Tuesday that viewership for the show’s premiere shot up to 25 million people when delayed viewing for the three days after last Tuesday’s first showing is added. The increase of 6.6 million people sets a record for the biggest lift ever for a show in the three days after a premiere, Nielsen said.

For the week of March 26-April 1, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “Roseanne,” ABC, 18.45 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 13.27 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 11.94 million; “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 11.92 million; NCAA Men’s Final Four: Loyola-Chicago vs. Michigan, TBS, 10.75 million; NCAA Men’s Final Four: Kansas vs. Villanova, TBS, 10.7 million; “Bull,” CBS, 10.65 million; “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 10.51 million; NCAA Men’s Final Four: “Bridge Show,” TBS, 9.86 million; “Jesus Christ Superstar Live,” NBC, 9.61 million.

Associated Press

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