Thu | Sep 21, 2017

10 people seated on jury in Bill Cosby's sex assault trial

Published:Wednesday | May 24, 2017 | 5:00 AM
Bill Cosby (centre), arrives with one of his attorneys Angela Agrusa (right), for the second day of jury selection in his sexual assault case at the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh yesterday.

PITTSBURGH (AP):

The jury that will hear Bill Cosby's sexual assault case was filling up quickly yesterday as lawyers and prosecutors worked to select panellists who they believed would be favourable to their side.

The jury so far consists of six men and four women all but one of them white in a case that Cosby says may have some racial undertones.

The actor-comedian, once known as America's Dad for his beloved portrayal of Dr Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show, is charged with drugging and molesting a Temple University women's basketball team manager at his home near Philadelphia in 2004. He has called the encounter consensual.

Dozens of other women have made similar accusations against Cosby, 79, but Judge Steven T. O'Neill is allowing only one of them to testify at the June 5 trial in suburban Philadelphia. The jury from Pittsburgh will be sequestered nearly 300 miles from home.

Lawyers will continue to question Pittsburgh-area residents this week until they find a panel of 12 jurors and six alternates in a case that has attracted worldwide publicity.

Cosby, in an interview last week, said he thinks race "could be" a motivating factor in the accusations against him. The lawyers are studying each person's race, sex, age, occupation and interests to try to guess their inherent sympathies, experts said.

The trial will take place in Norristown in Montgomery County, where Cosby had invited the complainant Andrea Constand to his home in 2004.

The first group of 100 potential jurors summoned this week includes 16 people of colour. The judge will bring in more people as needed.

Cosby was arrested December 30, 2015, days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired. He has pleaded not guilty and remains free on US$1 million bail.