Bill Cosby’s attorney to request change of venue today

     In this Nov. 1, 2016 file photo, Bill Cosby leaves after a hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

    In this Nov. 1, 2016 file photo, Bill Cosby leaves after a hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

    Bill Cosby’s legal team is expected to argue today in court that setting Bill Cosby’s June trial in Montgomery County with local jurors would ensure that the process is biased.

    News stories of his alleged 2004 acts of sexual assault have been sensational everywhere, but especially slanted in the Philadelphia area, according to a motion from Cosby’s attorney, Brian McMonagle.

    “Closer to home, prospective jurors in Montgomery County have been uniquely subjected to extensive, sustained, and pervasive negative coverage of this case against Cosby,” McMonagle wrote.

    In particular, in his campaign to become Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele used Cosby as a “political pawn” against Steele’s opponent in the race, Bruce Castor, by running television ads criticizing Castor for not prosecuting Cosby, the filing contends.

    And because potential jurors in Philadelphia’s suburbs have been subjected to such extensive negative coverage of Cosby assumed the comedian’s guilty, according to McMonagle, Cosby deserves either a new location, or an out-of-town jury.

    McMonagle suggested that a jury from a Pennsylvania county with more than 1.2 million people would be preferable, leaving prosecutors to believe that Cosby is implicitly seeking a jury from Pittsburgh, since the county that includes that city, Allegheny County, is the only other location outside of Philadelphia that fits that population requirement.

    But prosecutor say the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, not a defendant, should make decisions on trial location, or where potential jurors are drawn from.

    Prosecutors have also said in filings that they do not oppose bringing in an outside jury to please Cosby, yet they do not think another venue is necessary, saying that finding jurors oblivious to the case would be nearly impossible.

    “He’s not entitled to a jury that is ignorant of the facts surrounding this case,” DA Steele wrote of Cosby. “The publicity that necessarily follow the rich and famous cannot insulate them from prosecution.”

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