A judge granted a request by Bill Cosby’s defense lawyers on Monday to have jurors picked from a different Pennsylvania county in his upcoming sexual assault trial.
The comedian’s lawyers had argued that his case had drawn too much publicity to allow for a fair criminal trial in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill ruled that jurors would be picked from a different county, known as a change in venire, but denied the defense’s alternative request that the whole trial be moved to a different county. He ruled that the jury be sequestered once the trial begins on June 5, meaning they would be isolated from the public to prevent contact with outside influences.
Cosby, 79, is facing charges he sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, a former assistant basketball coach at his alma mater Temple University, in 2004.
The case is the only criminal prosecution resulting from accusations against the entertainer by more than four dozen women, though the deluge of allegations has shattered his once family-friendly reputation.
Cosby has denied any wrongdoing and has said his encounter with Constand, like the others, was consensual.
In its argument, the defense noted that Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, who is leading the prosecution, campaigned in 2015 by criticizing a predecessor for failing to pursue the Cosby case. The resulting news coverage has made selecting an impartial jury from the county impossible, they said.
Prosecutors had opposed moving the trial but consented to a change in venire. However, they balked at Cosby’s suggestion that only a county with more than 1.2 million people can yield a large enough jury pool to ensure fairness.
In court filings, Steele has pointed out that only Pittsburgh and Philadelphia meet that criterion and said the defense appeared to be shopping for a favorable jury.
The judge said that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would select the new county from which jurors would be picked, in keeping with state law.
On Friday, in a blow to Cosby’s defense, O’Neill ruled that prosecutors could call at trial another woman who has accused him of a similar assault in the 1990s. The district attorney’s office had sought to call as many as 13 other women.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax and David DeKok; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Andrew Hay)
US set to blow other countries away with ‘staggering’ scale of new oil and gas production
Over next decade, unlesss its trajectory changes, 61 percent of new global production will come from the United States
A new analysis reveals that the United States is expected to be the main contributor to a "looming carbon time bomb."
Released Tuesday by human and environmental rights group Global Witness, the report (pdf) shows how the U.S. is on track to dwarf other nations' shares of new oil and gas production over the next decade. In fact, says the analysis, 61 percent of all new global production is likely to come from the United States.
GOP is still accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from a megadonor caught in prostitution scandal
In February, Republican megadoner John W. Childs was charged with soliciting prostitution at a Florida massage parlor.
Childs was charged in the same sting that implicated Robert Kraft, the outspoken owner of the Eagles.
Since the sting, Childs has continued to be a major funder to Republican groups and candidates, reports CNBC.
He's given a total of $330,000 to Republicans, according to FEC filings.
The primary recipients of his largesse have been the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Nothing new for US in Trump’s Greenland ambitions
President Donald Trump's interest in buying Greenland has been met with disdain -- but it follows a longstanding US tradition of expanding its frontiers through land purchases from foreign countries.
The self-governed Danish territory has been in US sights at least twice before, while Washington has bought territory from Russia, Spain, France and Denmark since the turn of the 19th century.
- The Louisiana Purchase (1803) -
In the early 18th century, London and Paris were at loggerheads over control of North America, but French interest waned after it lost Quebec in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759.