Jurors Selected In Cosby Sexual Assault Case

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The panel that will decide Bill Cosby's fate in his sex assault trial began to take shape Monday with the selection of five jurors, three white men and two white women.

Jurors will be dismissed "for cause" if they admit to strong views about the case or persuade the judge they have family, health or financial situations that prevent them from serving. The hearing resumes Tuesday morning.

Lawyers have now selected five men and three women for the trial starting June 5 near Philadelphia. Both lawyers are allegedly attempting to determine how to get 12 jurors and 6 alternates that are "sympathetic" to their sides. Constand then filed a civil suit against Cosby, and in a deposition that was, in part, later unsealed by the court, he claimed he gave Constand Benadryl and said that their sexual encounter was consensual.

The defence, meanwhile, will be looking for any personal connections to victims of sexual assault, or any resentment for Cosby's past political statements.

Cosby is charged with drugging and molesting a Temple University employee in 2004.

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

All of the jurors selected so far are white. Cosby, 79, has said he thinks race "could be" a motivating factor in the accusations lodged against him.

The defence team struck four potential jurors on Monday and the prosecution struck two, including an older black woman. One man appears to be in his 20s or early 30s.

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

Cosby goes on trial June 5 in suburban Philadelphia. They'll point to Constand's continued relationship with Cosby after the night in question along with the one-year delay in reporting the allegations.

The jurors will be sequestered at a hotel for the duration of the trial, which is expected to last two weeks.

Cosby entered the courtroom in Pittsburgh on the arm of an aide, using a cane and carrying a box of tissues. A crucial phase of entertainer Bill Cosby's sex assault trial starts Monday, May 22, 2017, when lawyers gather.

"We made a lot of progress today", Cosby defense attorney Brian McMonagle said Tuesday outside of the courthouse.

Asked if he thought they could get an impartial jury, he said, "We sure hope so".

Court officials say the judge has taken the bench in Pittsburgh as lawyers prepare to question the first batch of 125 potential jurors.

The pool of potential jurors is coming from Allegheny County because Cosby's attorneys argued that pretrial publicity would make it hard to find impartial jury candidates in Montgomery County, where Cosby lives.

"No one should make an effort to be on this jury, and no one should make an effort to not be on this jury", Judge Steven T. O'Neill told the group.

He walked straight through a gauntlet of cameras and ignored reporters as they peppered him with questions. His assistant says he has no comment.

Lawyers hope to find a dozen jurors and six alternates in Pittsburgh willing to be sequestered almost 300 miles (482 kilometres) from home.

The case against Cosby has attracted worldwide publicity that the judge hopes to shield from jurors during the trial.

A USA judge kicked off jury selection Monday for Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial in a process fraught with challenges in finding a panel without pre-conceived notions about the megastar turned pariah's guilt or innocence.

  • Larry Hoffman