Bill Cosby sex assault trial to begin in Pennsylvania courtroom

Bill Cosby to go on trial for sex assault
(Image credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday, Bill Cosby goes on trial in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, on charges that he drugged then sexually assaulted a college basketball manager, Andrea Constand, in 2004 at his mansion outside Philadelphia. Constand, 44, and another accuser, "Kacey," will testify at the trial, but none of the other 40 or so women who have accused Cosby of drugging and assaulting them will tell their stories, after the judge ruled that their testimony would prejudice the jury of seven men and five women, two of them black and the other 10 white, who have been bused in from Pittsburgh and sequestered.

Cosby, 79, was a beloved TV actor and comedian until a damaging deposition was unsealed in 2015 that showed he had procured quaaludes in the 1970s to give women before sex, prompting dozens of women to come forward. The trial is expected to last two weeks, and Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill has taken steps to try to avoid a media circus like the O.J. Simpson murder trial; television cameras are not allowed in the courtroom. "We've had an O.J. hangover for many years," Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson tells The Associated Press. "What you worry about as the judge is that the lawyers don't showboat, the evidence gets presented fairly, and that you have a jury that does its job and is not being thrown into the whole milieu of the trial outside the courtroom." Cosby faces up to 10 years and $25,000 for each of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

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