NORRISTOWN, Pa. — The judge in Bill Cosby's criminal case in Pennsylvania expects his sexual assault trial to last at least two weeks.
Judge Steven O'Neill discussed the trial timeline Monday at the latest pretrial hearing in the case. The estimation of how long the trial would last was somewhat surprising considering the length of time since the charges were filed — in December 2015 — and the multiple pretrial hearings since then where defense lawyers and prosecutors have argued over a variety of issues about how the trial will be conducted.
Cosby's trial on three aggravated sexual assault charges is set to begin June 5.
The hearing Monday focused initially on picking a jury. The jurors will come from the Pittsburgh area and be sequestered throughout the trial nearly 300 miles away in Norristown in suburban Philadelphia.
O'Neill said he hopes to pick jurors in late May. He said their names will not be made public.
Cosby's defense team wants the jury pool pre-screened through a written questionnaire on their background, media habits and feelings about Cosby.
But O'Neill prefers they get the standard 16-question form followed by individual questioning in court.
Cosby, 79, is charged in connection with an encounter with Andrea Constand, a Temple University employee, at his nearby home in 2004. She says he drugged and molested her; he says the encounter was consensual.
Other issues still outstanding include whether Cosby's own testimony, in a damaging 2006 deposition in the civil suit Constand filed against him, will be used as evidence against him at the trial.
Cosby wants the deposition testimony excluded; Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele wants to use Cosby's own words in the deposition about obtaining quaaludes to give to women he sought for sex, and about his efforts to give women the supposed aphrodisiac Spanish fly.
Steele argues that the comments show his familiarity with date-rape drugs and should not be dismissed as "merely jokes." They quote Cosby making Spanish fly references in his 1991 book Childhood and in an interview that year with talk show host Larry King.
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