Will Bill Cosby testify at his trial?

With a jury picked, the long-awaited sexual assault trial of Bill Cosby, once known as America’s favorite TV dad, is set to begin in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

NEW YORK • Will Bill Cosby take the stand in a high-profile trial that kicks off today in the United States?

The 79-year-old comedian is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a former university basketball director at his home in Philadelphia 13 years ago.

While Cosby has said that he will not testify, legal experts expect his legal team to not rule out that possibility.

His accuser is Ms Andrea Constand, 44, who at the time was director of basketball operations at Temple University, Cosby's alma mater.

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Some 60 women have publicly accused Cosby of four decades of serial sexual abuse, but the trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, is likely to be the only criminal case brought against him.

The vast majority of alleged abuse cases happened too long ago to prosecute, reported Agence France- Presse.

A 12-person jury will decide Cosby's fate in a trial expected to last two weeks.

The comedian has explained why he will not provide testimony.

"When you have to deal with examination, cross-examination... and, yes, I do have lawyers to protect me... but I just don't want to sit there and have to figure out what I believe is a truthful answer to whether or not I'm opening a can of something that my lawyers are scrambling (to fix later)," he said in a May 16 interview on SiriusXM Radio.

The judge has allowed only one other Cosby accuser to testify, a blow for the prosecution which had asked for 13 women to be allowed to speak.

But the judge ruled that a psychologist can testify that his accuser's year-long delay in reporting the incident to police is typical of sex-assault victims, reported philly.com.

The 12 jurors will stay at an undisclosed hotel. Reporters who follow and attempt to contact them during the trial will face "serious repercussions", the judge warned last week.

If convicted, Cosby could spend the rest of his life behind bars, given a minimum 10-year sentence and a US$25,000 (S$34,500) fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2017, with the headline 'Will Bill Cosby testify at his trial?'. Print Edition | Subscribe