Cosby Sexual Assault Trial Begins

Sorting through a jury pool already exposed to the blaze of publicity over allegations against comedian Bill Cosby, lawyers and a judge on Monday selected the first five jurors, all of them white, who will decide whether he committed sexual assault.

So far six men and four women all white make up the jury.

Cosby, in an interview last week, said race could be a motivating factor in the accusations against him.

Jurors can not not be excluded on the basis of race or gender, and McMonagle said that prosecutors had used challenges to remove two black women while accepting white jurors who gave similar answers to questions.

Twelve jurors and six alternates are needed for the trial, which is scheduled to begin June 5 in suburban Philadelphia and last at least two weeks.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Bill Cosby's lawyers accused Pennsylvania prosecutors of trying to "systematically" keep blacks off the jury Tuesday after prosecutors used their strikes to keep two black women off the panel.

Charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault, Cosby is free on $100,000 cash bail. Cosby has said he believes the case may have racial overtones.

"You want to see if they're a celebrity-conscious person " if they read celebrity stuff, if they worship celebrity", trial consultant Howard Varinsky said. The jury from Pittsburgh will be sequestered almost 300 miles from home.

And at one point, he remonstrated with his lawyers when they were discussing the acceptability of a middle-age white woman.

Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson says that reflects the scope of the problem and could be an issue for the defense.

The jurors' names, ages and occupations were being kept private.

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.

When jurors were asked if they or a close relative or close friend have ever been a victim of sexual assault, 35 of the 100 jurors said, "Yes". "They filter it into what they already know and think".

Her background, Ryan said, sparked concern that she could have a "bias against governmental entities". She said Cosby gave her wine and pills that put her in a stupor before molesting her on his couch. The judge has not yet ruled on anyone's qualification to serve, but was expected to question people individually throughout the afternoon. Cosby in sworn testimony has said he put his hand down Constand's trousers, but said she did not protest. 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. He has pleaded not guilty.

Cosby was arrested December 30, 2015, days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired.

  • Larry Hoffman