Bill Cosby Trial to Begin More Than 10 Years After Alleged Sexual Assault

Lawyers for Bill Cosby will get their first glimpse on Monday of potential jurors who will decide the fate of the 79-year-old comedian in his criminal trial on sexual assault charges in Pennsylvania.

Cosby has maintained his innocence in the face of three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault over a 2004 encounter at his suburban Philadelphia mansion.

Now, after one and a half years of hearings, the trial is finally about to begin, pitting the story of Andrea Constand against Cosby’s defense.

The charges are a first-degree felony, and if the jury convicts Cosby, he could be punished with up to five to 10 years in prison.

The jurors are expected to hear about a personal connection that stretches back years.

Cosby and Constand met more than a decade ago while she was working for Temple University’s women’s basketball team. Constand viewed Cosby as an acquaintance and career mentor.

On the night of Jan. 4, 2004, Cosby invited Constand, then 30, to his home in Cheltenham Township, Pa.

What occurred that night has long been in dispute, but prosecutors say it amounted to criminal sexual assault.

The trial was set in motion more than 10 years after that night because of a request by Associated Press reporter Maryclaire Dale.

Dale filed a motion to unseal depositions of Cosby answering questions from investigators over four days in 2005. The conversations were part of a civil lawsuit that had been settled.

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SOURCE: NPR, Bobby Allyn