A crucial phase of comedian Bill Cosby's sex assault trial starts Monday 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 Temple University women's basketball team manager Andrea Constand at his home near Philadelphia in 2004. The felony charge carries a potential 10-year prison term, but Cosby is also focused on the court of public opinion. On the eve of jury selection, he told a talk radio host last week that he hopes to clear his name and resume his stand-up comedy career. The trial starts June 5, and the AP provides a rundown of what the dozen jurors and six alternates—whose names Judge Steven O'Neill plans to keep private—will face and who they might be.
In a rare move, the jury will be sequestered near the courthouse in Norristown, some 300 miles away from their homes. Court officers will keep close tabs on their cellphone use, TV time, and reading material, given the huge media coverage the case will bring. The trial is expected to last about two weeks, but could go longer if rebuttal witnesses are called or the jury struggles to reach a verdict. The defense will likely seek jurors who are black, male, older, and perhaps celebrity worshippers, in the view of one jury consultant. He expects prosecutors will aim for younger jurors, who may have more modern views of sexual assault cases. Jurors who have themselves been the victim of a sexual assault or are close to someone who has been will likely be dismissed by the judge.