Bill Cosby’s June trial for the alleged 2004 sexual assault of a then-Temple University employee is expected to last about two weeks, a Pennsylvania judge said today.
Jury screening for the trial scheduled for June 5 is likely to start May 22 or May 29 in the Pittsburgh-area Allegheny County, where jurors will be chosen, Judge Steven O’Neill said this morning in his Norristown, PA, courtroom. If convicted, Cosby could end up behind bars for up to a decade.
O’Neill’s declarations came at the beginning of a hearing Monday that saw Cosby back in court trying to limit what a jury may or may not hear of his past familiarity with date-rape drugs. Evidence that the 79-year-old actor’s lawyers want left out of the trial include excepts from books Cosby has penned and Larry King interviews he has given mentioning “Spanish fly” and a potentially damning 2005 civil case deposition that was made public in 2015 in which the actor discussed Quaaludes and revealed he used prescription drugs for having sex with women.
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Despite more than 60 women going public during the past two years with stories of being assaulted by The Cosby Show creator, the Keystone State case is the only criminal one against Cosby. The actor was charged in the closing days of 2015, just before Pennsylvania’s 12-year statute of limitations on sex crimes in his case expired. He was arraigned December 30 and released on $1 million bail without entering a plea. In subsequent months, Cosby and his somewhat-revolving door of attorneys have tried a variety of methods and jurisdictions to get the case dismissed.
Accompanied today by an entourage of attorneys and aides, the actor arrived just before 9 AM ET at the suburban Philadelphia courthouse. Charged with three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, Cosby is required by state law to appear at all the hearings in the matter – as he has done. As he also has in past hearings, the actor was chatting and laughing with members of his entourage inside and outside the courtroom.
Today’s hearing comes after a rare partial victory for Cosby in the controversial case as O’Neill late in February granted the actor’s request to have jury members brought in from other jurisdictions for the trial. However, at the same February 24 hearing, the judge rejected a request to change the venue.
That mixed result followed a much clearer win for Cosby on February 24, when O’Neill ordered that the actor only has to face testimony from one other woman who says he also assaulted her. Local DA Kevin Steele’s office had wanted a total of 13 other alleged Cosby victims to be able to take the stand with Constand to display the actor’s pattern of “prior bad acts.”
Mark Dent contributed to this report.
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