The jury has been chosen for comedian Bill Cosby’s trial, scheduled to take place June 5, after three days of selection in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County.
The panel of jurors is composed of four white women, six white men, one black woman, and one black man, while the alternates include four white men, one black woman, and one black man.
The trial will take place in Norristown, north of Philadelphia, inside Montgomery County, where the criminal charges against Cosby were filed. The comedian is charged with three counts of felony assault from a 2004 sexual assault case involving Andrea Constand, an employee from Cosby’s alma mater, Temple University. Over 50 women have come forward in recent years with similar allegations, many claiming that he drugged and assaulted them.
Cosby, who had remained silent for two days while the jury was selected, finally spoke after court was adjourned, saying, “I just want to be very specific about the wonderful people of Allegheny County and I also want to thank the sheriff’s department, because they made everything very very smooth here.”
The jury’s racial makeup has been a point of contention between the defense and the prosecution. Brian J. McMonagle, one of Cosby’s lawyers, said, “We believe this is a systematic exclusion of African Americans who answered that they could be objective.” He added, “We believe it is paramount that there be a diverse jury and we believe that we cannot get a diverse jury.”
The prosecution, on the other hand, is pleased with the jury selection. “I am glad we are past this nonsense about the optics of the jury,” said Montgomery County district attorney Kevin R. Steele. “It is a terrific jury made up of people of all demographics.”
The trial is expected to last two weeks. Cosby has chosen not to testify in his defense. If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison.