PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WTXF/AP) - A crucial phase of comedian Bill Cosby's sex assault trial starts Monday when lawyers gather in Pittsburgh to pick the jury that will weigh his case.
The jury must decide if the 79-year-old actor drugged and molested a Temple University women's basketball team manager at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.
Trial consultant Howard Varinsky believes lawyers will be on guard for celebrity worshippers or jurors who may want to serve to write a book.
Cosby calls the encounter with accuser Andrea Constand consensual. The felony charge carries a potential 10-year prison term, but Cosby is also focused on the court of public opinion. On the eve of jury selection, he told a talk radio host last week that he hopes to clear his name and resume his stand-up comedy career.
Once known as America's Dad for his beloved portrayal of Dr. Cliff Huxtable on his top-ranked "The Cosby Show" in the 1980s and `90s, Cosby said he does not expect to testify because of fears he would misspeak during cross-examination.
Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill will sequester the jury during the estimated two-week trial because of the frenzied media coverage expected. Jurors will be about 300 miles (482 kilometers) from home, across the state in suburban Philadelphia.
The trial starts June 5. One other accuser will be allowed to testify for prosecutors who hope to show that Cosby's encounter with Constand was not accidental but part of a broader pattern of sexual misconduct.