A Philadelphia judge ruled on Monday that a jury from outside Montgomery County will decide Bill Cosby’s sexual assault case.
The judge rejected a defense request to move the trial, which was requested by Cosby’s lawyers because they say the media brands him as a “serial rapist.” The lawyers also argued that moving the trial to Philadelphia or Pittsburgh would provide a larger population to find unbiased jurors, even though it will be difficult to get a fair hearing anywhere.
“Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the message that has been promoted, in insidious fashion, is that Bill Cosby is guilty and that Bill Cosby is a serial rapist,” lawyer Brian McMonagle told Associated Press. “I do not believe that there’s a place anywhere in this country now where he can receive a fair trial. Not here, not anywhere. I hope I’m wrong.”
Prosecutors did not fight bringing in an outside jury but they did fight moving the trial location, saying the defense was trying to shop for a jury. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court now has to decide from where the jurors will be selected.
District Attorney Kevin Steele wrote, “He’s not entitled to a jury that is ignorant of the facts surrounding his case. The publicity that necessarily follows the rich and famous cannot insulate them from prosecution.”
Cosby has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault of a former Temple University employee in 2004. Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill will oversee the trial on June 5th.