Bill Cosby arrives for Day 2 of jury selection

Olive Rios
May 23, 2017

Bill Cosby, center, arrives for jury selection in his sexual assault case at the Allegheny County Courthouse, Monday, May 22, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

"If I was a prosecutor I would be concerned that perhaps some potential jurors would feel some sympathy for Mr. Cosby because they've had some exposure to him through TV and other medium over the years", Hilles said.

What are the criminal charges against Cosby?

The 79-year-old Cosby is accused of drugging and molesting a Temple University employee in 2004. Each count carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. Jurors are being chosen in Pittsburgh starting Monday. He is also preventing prosecutors from bringing up the settlement paid out by Cosby.

The pervasive media coverage led O'Neill to agree with defense lawyers to pull jurors from Pittsburgh, 300 miles (480 km) away from Montgomery County, the Philadelphia suburb where the trial will take place.

The defense failed, however, to get the trial moved out of Montgomery County. Once jurors have been chosen in Pittsburgh, they will be transported to Norristown and sequestered after testimony begins.

What's the strongest evidence against Cosby?

There appears to be no physical evidence to support Constand's allegations. She did not contact police until a year later, and there are several inconsistencies in her statements to investigators that could be used to undercut her credibility.

Andrea Constand, who has accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting her, walks in a park in Toronto on December 30, 2015.

Why are the charges related to only one woman?

About 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault. The statute of limitations has expired in many of those allegations.

The comic actor has been charged with felony aggravated indecent assault stemming from an alleged encounter with accuser Andrea Constand. But, in an emphatic defeat for the prosecution, Judge Steven T. O'Neill ruled that only one other accuser would be allowed to testify.

That woman appeared on camera for a news conference in January 2015 using the pseudonym "Kacey". She says he returned with three blue pills which he said "would take the edge off". He said Cosby was "looking forward" to getting the process started.

In a radio interview broadcast last week, Cosby said he did not expect to testify, and suggested racism could have played a role in the scandal. Cosby also could earn sympathy points because he claims to be legally blind.

Constand, who was 30 when the alleged assault took place and is a massage therapist in Canada, is nearly certain to testify because the prosecution case relies heavily on her memories of the encounter with Cosby, according to legal experts.

Under the law, jurors can have some knowledge of the case, as long as they can base their verdict exclusively on the evidence at trial, said Douglas Sughrue, a Pittsburgh defense attorney. First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele, a Democrat whose office had reopened the case, attacked Castor over the Cosby case in campaign ads.

Once a verdict is reached, will that be the end of Cosby's legal troubles? But many civil cases remain.

"A fair trial doesn't mean that people aren't going to know anything about the defendant", Sughrue said.

The three men and two women, all white, who were picked for the jury will eventually be joined by seven more jurors and four alternates. Then they began bringing the rest in one by one to follow-up on answers they gave on the written questionnaire and in the group questioning.

Two of the men say they or someone close to them has been a sexual assault victim, but both say they can be fair.

Underscoring the challenge O'Neill faces, 86 potential jurors said they were aware of the Cosby case, while 34 said they already had formed some opinion regarding his guilt or innocence.

The five were among a pool of 100 potential jurors asked about their impartiality, including whether they recognized the names of certain people expected to come up at trial - such as "Dynasty" actress Diahann Carroll and celebrity attorney Gloria Allred.

Cosby came to court on the arm of an aide, carrying a box of tissues, and frequently conferred with his three lawyers at the defense table.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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