Jury in Cosby trial to come from Pittsburgh area

BY LAURA MCCRYSTAL
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

PHILADELPHIA – A jury from the Pittsburgh area will determine Bill Cosby’s fate at his sexual-assault trial, scheduled to begin in June, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday.

In an order issued weeks after a Montgomery County judge granted a request that jurors be selected from a different county, Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor said jurors would be chosen in Allegheny County.

The jurors will travel to Montgomery County, where Judge Steven T. O’Neill has said they will be sequestered for the duration of the trial. No date for jury selection in Pittsburgh has been scheduled.

Cosby’s lawyers successfully sought an out-of-town jury pool, citing media coverage of the case and noting that the investigation into Cosby became an issue in the 2015 race for Montgomery County district attorney.

More diversity sought
They said a jury should be pulled from an urban center with “more diverse and opposing viewpoints.”

A spokesman for the Supreme Court said at the time that the court does not typically take requests from lawyers into consideration or select counties that border the county hosting the trial.

Allegheny, with a population of 1.2 million, is the second-largest county in the state. Pittsburgh is its county seat.

Allegheny County’s population is 82 percent White, slightly higher than the 80 percent of Montgomery, the third most-populous in the state at 800,000, according to the Census Bureau. African-Americans constitute 14.9 percent of Allegheny County’s population, compared with 8.9 percent in Montgomery County.

June 5 trial
Cosby is charged with aggravated indecent assault, accused of drugging and molesting Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his home in Cheltenham in 2004. His trial is scheduled to begin June 5 in Norristown.

A spokesman for Cosby declined to comment Monday. A spokeswoman for Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, who did not oppose the defense request to have outside jurors hear the case, did not respond to a message seeking comment.

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