HARRISBURG >> Entertainer Bill Cosby’s fate will be in the hands of jurors from Allegheny County when he stands trial this summer for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman at his Cheltenham mansion in 2004, according to a state court decision.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in a ruling filed late Monday, ordered “that a jury to try (Cosby) shall be impaneled from Allegheny County…” The order was signed by Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor. Pittsburgh is the county seat and the largest city in Allegheny County.
The state’s highest court was responding to Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill’s Feb. 27 request that another county be selected to hear Cosby’s June 5 trial.
After a hearing two weeks ago, the judge ruled that jurors from another Pennsylvania county would be selected and then brought back to Montgomery County for Cosby’s trial. Those jurors will be sequestered, the judge said, which will be at the county’s expense for the duration of the trial.
Under state law, once a change of venire is granted by a county judge, it is the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that has the sole discretion to designate the county from which a jury is selected.
William Henry Cosby Jr., 79, as his name appears on charging documents, faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault in connection with allegations he had inappropriate sexual contact with Andrea Constand, a former Temple University athletic department employee, at his Cheltenham home after plying her with blue pills and wine sometime between mid-January and mid-February 2004.
O’Neill has not set a specific date for jury selection to begin. But when it does commence, Cosby and his security entourage, county prosecutors, Cosby’s lawyers, O’Neill and likely a contingent of the judge’s staff will travel to Pittsburgh to select a panel of 12 jurors and several alternate jurors.
District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and co-prosecutors M. Stewart Ryan and Kristen Feden are prosecuting Cosby. The entertainer is represented by defense lawyers Brian J. McMonagle and Angela C. Agrusa.
This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.