5 jurors picked for Cosby trial, 2 know a sex assault victim

Olive Rios
May 23, 2017

The pioneering black entertainer arrived at the Allegheny County Courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh dressed in a pale yellow shirt, colorful patterned tie and a tan checkered jacket to observe the start of the proceedings, expected to last all week. Bill Cosby leaves after attending jury selection in his sexual assault case at the Allegheny County Courthouse, Monday, May 22, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File). Bill Cosby, right, leaves after attending jury selection in his sexual assault case at the Allegheny County Courthouse, Monday, May 22, 2017, in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Bill Cosby has arrived at the Pittsburgh courthouse where jury selection in his sex assault case is getting underway.

Judge O'Neill ruled that some statements from the deposition would be admissible in the trial - including Cosby's admission to giving Quaaludes to a woman with whom he wanted to have sex.

TMZ reports that Bill Cosby's sexual assault criminal trial started today with jury selection. The goal is to select 12 jurors and six alternates.

Cosby has said he thinks race "could be" a motivating factor in the accusations lodged against him.

"You're looking for what people already believe", said University of Pittsburgh School of Law professor David Harris.

Another question asked is, "Have you formed an opinion of the guilt or innocence of Mr. Cosby?" and 34 percent said they had.

He faces charges of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University women's basketball director Andrea Constand.

Andrea Constand, who has accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting her, walks in a park in Toronto on December 30, 2015. The case is set for trial June 5 in suburban Philadelphia.

The lawyers also will be weighing a potential juror's race, gender, age, occupation and interests. They ranged in age from a man perhaps in his 70s who, like Cosby, uses a cane to a young man with a hipster style.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are sexual assault victims unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

"This is not going to be an easy task", said Norristown Attorney Henry Hilles.

"Can we trust them (to be fair)? It's one thing to set aside intellectually what you know, but it's another to set it aside emotionally".

The case has attracted worldwide publicity that the judge hopes to shield from jurors when the trial begins June 5 in suburban Philadelphia. While the prosecutors spoke in hushed tones, Cosby laughed so hard that he had to hold his hand over his mouth.

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

Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill will sequester the jury during the estimated two-week trial because of the frenzied media coverage that is expected.

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.

"He's holding up fine, he's looking forward to it. and we're looking forward to getting a trial", said defense lawyer Brian McMonagle. However, Cosby has said he does not expect to testify.

The defence had used four strikes to keep someone off the jury by Monday afternoon, while the prosecution had not used any. After that, each side can strike seven jurors and three alternates without cause, simply because they sense they fear they would hurt their sides. She says he returned with three blue pills which he said "would take the edge off".

Constand was 30 and dating a woman at the time, while Cosby was 66 and long married to wife Camille.

But he denies that he assaulted Constand or the other women who have stepped forward with accounts of rape or assault. They hope to tease out whether they relate more to the beloved actor who brought the world Fat Albert, Dr. Cliff Huxtable and bemused quips about family and fatherhood, or to Constand, who was rebuffed when she first filed a police complaint, only to have the case resurface a decade later after Cosby's testimony from her lawsuit became public and dozens of other accusers came forward to support her.

Her accusation led to Cosby's arrest in December 2014, days before the statute of limitations on the alleged crime was to expire.

Cosby pleaded not guilty and remains free on $1 million bail.

He told a talk radio host last week that he hopes to clear his name and resume his career as a writer and performer.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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