3 white men, 2 white woman seated for Cosby jury

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.

Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial has started today with the beginning of the selection of the jury. Bill Cosby leaves after attending jury selection in his sexual assault case at the Allegheny County Courthouse, Monday, May 22, 2017, in Pittsburgh. The case is set for trial June 5 in suburban Philadelphia.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The search for 12 jurors and six alternates for Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial is off to a brisk start even though a third of the initial jury pool had an opinion about Cosby's guilt or innocence and an equal number said they or someone close to them had been sexually assaulted.

Cosby himself did not respond to questioned shouted at him by reporters outside court as he was led in by an assistant; Cosby has said he is now almost blind.

"Statistically, that would be accurate in our society, sadly, that we have that level of sexual misconduct", said Laurie Levenson, a Loyola Law School professor.

Not long after, prosecutors in suburban Philadelphia announced criminal charges against Cosby citing the new information that surfaced from the public release of the deposition. "They filter it into what they already know and think".

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Thirteen years after a Temple University basketball team manager went to famous alumni Bill Cosby's nearby home for career advice, her complaint that Cosby drugged and molested her that night will soon be a task for a Pennsylvania jury.

The trial stems from the accusations of just one woman, Andrea Constand, although a second accuser, known as Prior Alleged Victim No. 6, will be allowed to testify that she also was drugged and abused by Cosby, in 1996. Once jurors have been chosen in Pittsburgh, they will be transported to Norristown and sequestered after testimony begins.

O'Neill is keeping the jurors' names, ages and occupations private from reporters. The judge said they can use their cellphones and laptops but they cannot discuss the case on social media.

Under the law, jurors can have some knowledge of the case, as long as they can base their verdict exclusively on the evidence at trial, said Douglas Sughrue, a Pittsburgh defense attorney. "It's one thing to set aside intellectually what you know, but it's another to set it aside emotionally".

Cosby's lawyers demanded that jury selection moved from Montgomery County to Allegheny County, arguing that a larger and more diverse location would improve the odds of finding jurors who had not been poisoned by the avalanche of negative publicity about their client.

Cosby, 79, who has registered as legally blind, was using a tan cane, holding the arm of another man and wearing dark sunglasses. However, Cosby has said he does not expect to testify.

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

According to court documents, Cosby gave Constand three pills to relax during the encounter as she confided in Cosby about the possibility of leaving the women's basketball team, a prospect that caused her much distress.

His wife of 52 years, Camille Cosby, was not with him.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are the victims of sexual assault unless they come forward, as Constand has done.

Monday afternoon, O'Neill questioned 21 potential jurors individually with attorneys from both sides present. Forty-one of them will return Tuesday for further consideration before the judge, if necessary, calls in the next pool. Each side can strike an additional seven people during jury selection and three more after alternatives are picked. Cosby faces up to ten years in prison. He posted bail of $1 million in the case in December 2015.

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