NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A jury in suburban Philadelphia began hearing the case against Bill Cosby who is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in his home in 2004.
There was a large media presence outside the Montgomery County courthouse as the 79-year-old comedian arrived at about 8:40 a.m. Monday for the start of his sex assault trial.
As CBS2’s Kenneth Craig reported, Cosby showed up to court with actress Keshia Knight Pulliam by his side. Pulliam played his youngest daughter Rudy Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” the long-running sitcom that turned Cosby into one of the country’s most well-loved comedians.
There was a long line of people waiting outside the courthouse hoping to get a seat in the courtroom open to the public, 1010 WINS’ Steve Kastenbaum reported.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents several women who made allegations against Cosby, was among the spectators who came to court for the start of the trial.
“This is a day that has been coming for many, many years,” Allred said. “I’m very hopeful that there will be justice in this case.”
Thirteen years ago, Andrea Constand, a former basketball staffer at Temple University, said she went to Cosby’s home, was drugged and sexually assaulted. Cosby has said it was consensual and that he gave her Benadryl.
In opening statements the prosecutors said Cosby used drugs so that Constand couldn’t say no.
Trial expert Julie Grant said that will be the prosecution’s main theme.
“Their legal theory is that Bill Cosby gave her three blue pills that left her incapacitated, and because she was incapacitated there is no way should could have consented to the sexual acts that followed,” Grant explained.
In previous court documents, Cosby has admitted to giving Quaaludes to young women.
“We’re confident in the case we have and look forward to getting it in a jury’s hands,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said.
Steele ran for office promising to prosecute the long-dormant case after dozens of women came forward with similar accusations. About 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct. Unlike other accusers, the statute of limitations in Constand’s case hasn’t run out.
“An ultimate question is, is she a credible witness?” legal analyst Barry Coburn said.
Constand will take the stand this week to tell her story in public for the first time. Cosby himself is not expected to take the stand.
“I am not particularly surprised by that decision, whether or not a criminal defendant testifies, or elects not to testify is one of the most important decisions that any criminal defendant together with their counsel have to make in a trial,” Coburn said.
The jury of seven men and five women- — 10 of them white, two African-American — were chosen in Pittsburgh and brought to suburban Philadelphia to hear the case.
The judge agreed with defense attorneys that a local jury couldn’t guarantee a fair verdict.
They’ll be sequestered at a nearby hotel throughout the trial, which the judge expects to run about two weeks.
Cosby, who is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault, could be sentenced to 10 years in prison if found guilty.
The trial is expected to last about two weeks.