PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Manuel Roig-Franzia, who is covering the Bill Cosby trial for the Washington Post, shared some of the behind the scenes details with Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, saying the demand for people who want to attend the trial have far exceeded capacity.
“We’re packed shoulder to shoulder in the courtroom, not a seat to spare. In fact, there’s so much interest in the story, in the case, that even some of the former accusers of Bill Cosby have not been able to get seats in the courtroom and they’ve had to set up an overflow room with a video feed so people who can’t get into the main courtroom can watch.”
He addressed the appearance of one of Cosby’s co-stars from the ‘Cosby Show,’ Keisha Knight-Pulliam, who walked with Cosby into the building, stating the defense was hoping for many more celebrities and activists to buttress their cause.
“The Cosby team has really struggled to get some public support for him. They expected some African-American civil rights types to step up and say that there was, somehow, a race factor in this trial and that did not happen. So they’ve really had a rough time finding public support, so anyone who is willing to come to courthouse with Bill Cosby, stand there with him in front of the media, have their picture taken, I could see being viewed by the defense team as a big positive. His family just has not had a physical presence at any of the pre-trial hearings. You can tell that they are uncomfortable with the whole proceeding. We’ve been hearing that it’s unlikely that his wife will come. He has four daughters, two of them have made public statements before the trial. It’s possible that we could see some of them at key moments during the case but I wouldn’t expect to see them being a daily presence.”
Roig-Franzia also expects the trial to wrap up before the end of the month.
“Judge O’Neill, the judge from Montgomery County who is presiding over the case, has said that it will take two to three weeks. All indications are that he wants to keep to that schedule for this very important reason: he has a jury that is entirely selected from Allegheny County, up in the Pittsburgh area, and they are sequestered, living 300 miles away from home, in a hotel, they have all sorts of restrictions on what they can look at on television and on the internet and when you have a jury that is in that kind of a posture, there is an incentive for the court to keep things moving along. So, when he says two to three weeks, at this point, at least, we have to take him at his word.”