The trial is set to begin next month, but thanks to a request from the Cosby team, jurors will be pulled from nearby Allegheny.
FILE In this combination of file photos, entertainer Bill Cosby pauses during an interview in Washington on November 6, 2014, and Andrea Constand poses for a photo in Toronto on August 1, 1987.
Attorneys for iconic comedian and TV pioneer Bill Cosby have started selecting jurors for Cosby's upcoming sexual assault trial.
The pioneering black entertainer arrived at the Allegheny County Courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh dressed in a pale yellow shirt, colorful patterned tie and a tan checkered jacket to observe the start of the proceedings, expected to last all week. Cosby says the contact was consensual. Cosby has said he thinks race "could be" a motivating factor in the accusations lodged against him. "People don't take in new information and process it". Cosby himself won't take the stand, as he thinks he might say something offhand that would "open a can of something".
Cosby is charged with drugging and molesting a Temple University employee in 2004. She is one of more than 50 women to have come forward in recent years with allegations of sexual assault by Cosby, a portrait starkly at odds with the actor's longtime image as America's Dad.
Because of the odd situation in Montgomery County, jurors in Cosby's trial will spend the length of the trial sequestered in a hotel room 480 kilometres (300 miles) from home.
The jurors' names, ages and occupations were being kept private. The youngest was a young man with a hipster style.
O'Neill dismissed a second pool of 80 potential jurors because he said he would not be able to begin questioning them Tuesday. It's led by Brian McMonagle, a prominent Philadelphia attorney whose clients have included National Basketball Association star Allen Iverson, a Catholic archbishop and a city deputy mayor cleared of corruption charges; and Angela Agrusa, a seasoned and ultra-aggressive Los Angeles attorney who formerly headed the California litigation department for BakerHostetler, one of the nation's largest law firms.
"The people of Pittsburgh expressed overwhelming support for the residency requirement and we want our police officers to continue to live in the neighborhoods and communities that they serve. That's really the question", said Laurie Levenson, a Loyola Law School professor.
Mullaney, McClain and Hilles, each a former prosecutor turned defense lawyer, have handled their fair share of high-profile local cases but are not connected to the Cosby case.
14 said the fact the case involves charges of sex assault would affect their ability to make a fair and impartial decision on guilt or innocence.
Cosby entered the courtroom in Pittsburgh on the arm of an aide, using a cane and carrying a box of tissues.
O'Neill said he would revisit the issue if defense lawyer Brian McMonagle, who had accused prosecutors of "a systematic exclusion of African-Americans", offered any statistical evidence to back that up.
Cosby does not plan to testify in his own defense, he told CNN host Michael Smerconish last week.
Each side can reject seven potential jurors and three alternates without explanation.
Bill Cosby departs the Montgomery County Courthouse after a preliminary hearing in Norristown, Pennsylvania, US on May 24, 2016. Cosby in sworn testimony has said he put his hand down Constand's trousers, but said she did not protest.
Dozens of women have leveled similar allegations at Cosby stretching back decades, though Constand's claims are the only ones to result in criminal charges. Cosby in sworn testimony has said he put his hand down Constand's trousers, but said she did not protest.
And 35 of the 100 people questioned say they or a family member or close friend has been the victim of a sexual assault. The 100 people summoned to the Allegheny County courthouse for juror consideration so far have included 16 people of color.
Cosby was arrested on December 30, 2015, days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired. He posted bail of US$1 million (RM4.3 million) in the case in December 2015. "I may have heard something here or there", the middle-aged woman said.
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