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Sequestered jury from outside area to decide Bill Cosby case

Associated Press logo Associated Press 2/28/2017 By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press
Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A sequestered jury from an outside county will decide the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby, a suburban Philadelphia judge ruled Monday, rejecting a defense request to move the trial itself because of worldwide media reports that the actor's lawyers say brand him a "serial rapist."

Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill will oversee a June 5 trial over charges that Cosby drugged and molested a former Temple University employee in 2004.

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Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

O'Neill's ruling came after lawyers for the 79-year-old TV star argued that his trial should be moved to Philadelphia or the Pittsburgh area. The larger, more diverse population would make it easier to find unbiased jurors, lawyer Brian McMonagle argued, but even then, he said, there was no guarantee that Cosby could get a fair hearing.

Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

"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," McMonagle said. "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."

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Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Prosecutors accused the defense of trying to shop for a jury.

Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

In a court filing, District Attorney Kevin Steele called the pretrial publicity argument "a red herring." He said Cosby couldn't expect to find a jury anywhere that is "oblivious" to the dozens of sex assault accusations lodged against him by Andrea Constand and other accusers.

Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

"He's not entitled to a jury that is ignorant of the facts surrounding his case," Steele wrote. "The publicity that necessarily follows the rich and famous cannot insulate them from prosecution."

Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. Monday's hearing comes days after the trial judge ruled that only one other accuser can testify at the scheduled June trial. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. Monday's hearing comes days after the trial judge ruled that only one other accuser can testify at the scheduled June trial. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Prosecutors did not object to bringing an outside jury to the courthouse in Norristown, but fought the bid to move the trial.

Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

They told O'Neill they could surely find a dozen unbiased jurors in counties with fewer than 1 million people, the size sought by the defense.

Bill Cosby arrives for a pre-trial hearing at the Montgomery County courthouse Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. Cosby is seeking a venue change for his criminal sex assault trial. (Bill Fraser/Bucks County Courier Times via AP, Pool) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for a pre-trial hearing at the Montgomery County courthouse Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. Cosby is seeking a venue change for his criminal sex assault trial. (Bill Fraser/Bucks County Courier Times via AP, Pool)

"It's not just short on the law, but short on logic," Assistant District Attorney M. Stewart Ryan argued Monday.

Bill Cosby arrives for a pre-trial hearing at the Montgomery County courthouse Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. Cosby is seeking a venue change for his criminal sex assault trial. (Bill Fraser/Bucks County Courier Times via AP, Pool) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for a pre-trial hearing at the Montgomery County courthouse Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. Cosby is seeking a venue change for his criminal sex assault trial. (Bill Fraser/Bucks County Courier Times via AP, Pool)

Cosby has pleaded not guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home. The Associated Press doesn't typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they have come forward publicly, as Constand has done.

Bill Cosby departs after a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby departs after a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

With O'Neill's decision to import an out-of-county jury, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court must now decide where in Pennsylvania the jurors will be selected.

Bill Cosby departs after a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. A jury from outside the Philadelphia suburbs will be brought in to decide the case against Cosby, a judge ruled Monday. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby departs after a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. A jury from outside the Philadelphia suburbs will be brought in to decide the case against Cosby, a judge ruled Monday. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Monday's hearing came after the judge dealt a blow to the prosecution by limiting the number of accusers who can testify at the trial. Prosecutors wanted to put 13 more women on the stand to bolster charges that Cosby had drugged and molested women before the 2004 encounter with Constand.

Bill Cosby departs after a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. A jury from outside the Philadelphia suburbs will be brought in to decide the case against Cosby, a judge ruled Monday. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby departs after a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Norristown, Pa. A jury from outside the Philadelphia suburbs will be brought in to decide the case against Cosby, a judge ruled Monday. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

O'Neill ruled Friday that only one of those accusers may testify. She worked for Cosby's agent at the William Morris agency and said Cosby drugged and molested her during a lunch meeting in Los Angeles in 1996.

In a setback for the defense, O'Neill has previously ruled that Cosby's damaging deposition from Constand's 2005 lawsuit can be aired in court. Cosby, over four days, described a string of extramarital affairs and liaisons with young women, often after he gave them drugs or alcohol. He called them consensual.

Cosby, once known as "America's Dad" for his top-rated family sitcom, "The Cosby Show," which ran from 1984 to 1992, appeared relaxed in his latest court appearance Monday, laughing with aides during breaks.

He has been married to his wife, Camille, for more than 50 years, and has four surviving children. Their only son, Ennis, was killed in an attempted robbery in 1997.

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