PHILADELPHIA — A crucial phase of comedian Bill Cosby's sex assault trial starts today when lawyers gather in Pittsburgh to pick the jury that will weigh his case.
The jury must decide if the 79-year-old actor drugged and molested a Temple University women's basketball team manager at his home near Philadelphia in 2004. Cosby calls the encounter with accuser Andrea Constand consensual. The felony charge carries a potential 10-year prison term. Cosby said he does not expect to testify.
Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill will sequester the jury during the estimated two-week trial because of the frenzied media coverage expected. Jurors will be about 300 miles from home, across the state in suburban Philadelphia.
The trial starts June 5.
A rundown of what to expect as a dozen jurors and six alternates are selected:
What will it be like to serve on the jury?
The jury will be sequestered near the courthouse in Norristown, Pa., some 300 miles away from their homes. Court officers will keep close tabs on their cellphone use, TV time and reading material. The trial is expected to last about two weeks.
What type of jurors will the defense seek?
The defense will likely seek jurors who are black, male, older and perhaps celebrity worshipers, in the view of jury consultant Howard Varinksy.
How about the prosecution?
Younger jurors may have more modern views of sexual assault cases, especially those, like Cosby's, that involve acquaintance situations or a delay in contacting police.
Will the jurors be identified?
Judge Steven O'Neill plans to keep the jurors' names private.