Judge expects 2-week Cosby trial; jury to be sequestered

Malcolm Fuller
April 5, 2017

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.

Calling Cosby a "world-renowned celebrity", Agrusa said there is already a negative public perception of her client because he has been vilified by the press.

Those announcements came at the start of a daylong hearing in which the contours of the long-awaited trial began to emerge - from how the 12 jurors and six alternates will be chosen to what evidence they will be allowed to consider. If convicted, Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors in Bill Cosby's sex assault case are pressing to let the jury hear his decade-old deposition testimony about getting quaaludes to give to women before sex.

The suburban Philadelphia judge had previously ruled the jury won't hear from a woman who says Cosby gave her quaaludes in the 1970s.

Bill Cosby's hanging on to his sense of humor, apparently, as his sexual assault trial gets closer - 'cause he was laughing it up Monday outside court. O'Neill said more extensive questioning of jurors, with more specific questions, can occur after they arrive in court for in-person questioning.

He's in court Monday.

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Cosby's lawyers argue the deposition is irrelevant since the sedatives were banned 20 years before he met Constand.

The questions are meant to determine whether potential jurors have a bias against Cosby, according to court documents filed by the defense. He began the hearing this morning by summarizing all the different motions and rulings that had been made since Cosby was first charged with the sexual assault of Constand in December 2015.

Judge Steven O'Neill told the court that the standard 16-question survey is fine.

Prosecutors say the comments show Cosby is familiar with date rape drugs - and his talking about them can't be dismissed as "merely jokes". Prosecutors, for instance, want to exclude Constand's civil lawsuit, even as they try to use Cosby's four-day deposition in that case.

Pennsylvania prosecutors argue that the anecdote in Cosby's memoir about attempting to give the substance to girls as a young man shows he is not opposed to drugging women for sex, NBC News reported.

But he asked O'Neill to bar the prosecution from mentioning the subsequent civil settlement, in which Cosby paid her an undisclosed sum in exchange for her agreement not to cooperate with future law enforcement efforts.

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