Bill Cosby is escorted into Montgomery County Courtroom A for a pretrail hearing in his sexual assault trail April 3, 2017.

Bill Cosby is escorted into Montgomery County Courtroom A for a pretrail hearing in his sexual assault trail April 3, 2017.

Clem Murray / Pool Photo

Bill Cosby’s only sexual assault trial will last 2 weeks, judge says

Judge Steven T. O’Neill wants jurors to be screened starting in late May.

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NORRISTOWN — How close is Bill Cosby to finally seeing justice in the sexual assault case filed by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand? In addition to a trial start date, we now have a timeline for the length of the trial and for when jury selection might begin.

Judge Steven T. O’Neill said Monday he expected the Cosby case to last for two weeks or less. The trial, scheduled to begin June 5, will likely kick off with jury screening May 22 or May 29 in Allegheny County, where the jurors will be chosen.

O’Neill discussed these details in court Monday morning while listening to an argument concerning jury selection put forth by Cosby’s defense team. Basically, Cosby’s lawyers want him to get the Enron treatment. Attorney Angela Agrusa brought up the 2006 case against former Enron chief Jeffrey Skilling and how the protocol for finding jurors was adjusted to allow for a 14-page, 76-question questionnaire.

Cosby’s team is asking for something similar but not quite as extensive: a supplemental questionnaire be mailed to potential jurors in advance of the routine jury screening process that takes place in person. Agrusa said it was necessary, given the intense media coverage of the case.

“The guilt,” she said, “has been established.”

O’Neill expressed concern about mailing a questionnaire and recipients at home broadcasting it on social media or filling it out with friends and family members. But he did express a willingness to supplement the standard questionnaire for jurors with additional questions, saying the prosecution and defense could go over them if there’s extra time in the afternoon.

After a short break, O’Neill expects to listen to arguments about whether statements Cosby made about quaaludes during a deposition and about Spanish fly in a biography can be used as evidence in the trial.

Cosby appeared more animated than in previous appearances. Before the hearing began, he stood up out of his chair and spoke at length with two men, laughing often as he told a story.

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