It won’t be hard to find a fair jury for Cosby trial, Montco prosecutors say

1 Philadelphia

Philadelphia News & Search

1 News - 1 eMovies - 1 eMusic - 1 eBooks - 1 Search

Montgomery County prosecutors said Monday that it will not be difficult to find a fair and impartial jurors for Bill Cosby’s upcoming sex-assault trial, opposing a request from defense lawyers to mail questionnaires to as many as 2,000 potential jurors. 

The dispute over how to choose a jury for the high-profile trial is one of the last remaining issues to settle before June, when the entertainer is scheduled to be tried on a charge of aggravated indecent assault. Jurors will be chosen from Allegheny County and relocate to Norristown for the trial.

District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said in a court filing Monday that no special procedures will be necessary to find a jury for the case, despite Cosby’s status as a celebrity.

“Special treatment is neither necessary nor appropriate,” Steele wrote.

Cosby’s lawyers want Judge Steven T. O’Neill to allow them to send detailed questionnaires to as many as 2,000 jurors as the preliminary step in a process that would last weeks. They cited other cases in which this procedure was used for high-profile defendants, including Martha Stewart and Michael Jackson.

Steele, in return, cited the trial of former Attorney General Kathleen Kane, whom he prosecuted in Montgomery County last year. It took one day to select jurors from a pool of 100 summoned to court.

The district attorney called “cynical” Cosby’s lawyers’ contention that many prospective jurors will already have formed opinions about the entertainer’s guilt or innocence. He said standard procedures for jury selection would easily prevent people with firm opinions about the case from becoming jurors.

“[Cosby] forecasts that jury selection may take weeks; we are confident that it will not and can be completed in an expeditious fashion,” Steele wrote.

A spokesman for Cosby did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday morning.

Cosby, 79, is charged with aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and molesting Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his home in Cheltenham in 2004. 

His trial is scheduled to begin June 5. While Cosby’s lawyers asked that potential jurors report to court beginning June 5 for in-person questioning, Steele asked the judge to select an earlier date for jury selection in Pittsburgh.

O’Neill will hear arguments from both sides at a pre-trial hearing on April 3. 

More Coverage

1 Philadelphia

Philadelphia News & Search

1 News - 1 eMovies - 1 eMusic - 1 eBooks - 1 Search



Leave a Reply