A Pennsylvania judge on Monday will begin questioning potential jurors for the rape trial of Bill Cosby, the comedian best known as America’s favorite TV dad before dozens of women came forward to accuse him of sex abuse.
Cosby built a long career with a family-friendly style of comedy that peaked when he played father Heathcliff Huxtable in the 1980’s hit “The Cosby Show.” His reputation began to crumble as he was hit by a series of lawsuits and allegations charging him with drugging and sexually assaulting women in incidents dating back a half-century.
All but one of the cases is too old to be the subject of criminal prosecution, leaving Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill with the task of picking the 12 jurors who will determine whether Cosby, now 79, is guilty of sexually assaulting a former Temple University basketball coach at his home in the Philadelphia suburbs in 2004.
Cosby has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing, portraying all the encounters as consensual and contending that some accusers aimed to prey on his celebrity to secure large cash settlements in lawsuits.
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