Archive

Judge nixes Cosby request to step down; sentencing Monday | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Judge nixes Cosby request to step down; sentencing Monday

The Associated Press
252099252099fdce624161f34439ae693f0a13a7e825
FILE - In this April 24, 2018, file photo, Bill Cosby, left, arrives with his wife, Camille, for his sexual assault trial, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. Cosby's wife wants a Pennsylvania ethics board to investigate the judge set to sentence her husband Sept. 24, on felony sex assault charges. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

Days before sentencing, Bill Cosby’s trial judge denied a defense motion to step down from the sex assault case because of what Cosby’s team called a long-ago grudge with a pretrial witness.

Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill has seen the case through two trials, hard-fought pretrial hearings and 15 defense lawyers since Cosby’s arrest on Dec. 30, 2015.

Cosby’s two-day sentencing hearing is set to start Monday. A jury this spring convicted him of drugging and molesting a woman friend at his home in 2004. The actor, now 81 and legally blind, faces a guideline sentence of about one to four years, but O’Neill can choose anything from probation to a 30-year prison term.

Camille Cosby filed a state ethics complaint this week accusing O’Neill of bias against her husband because of what she called his feud with a former prosecutor who testified in an early 2016 pretrial hearing. O’Neill had competed against the witness, Bruce Castor, for a political post years ago.

“The fact that this court sought a party nomination for the office of District Attorney nearly 20 years ago is a fact of public record that could easily be uncovered in the exercise of due diligence by no less than 15 attorneys (and their private investigators),” O’Neill wrote in an opinion issued Wednesday, noting that Castor has litigated cases in his court for years.

“No ‘grudge,’ animus, bias or prejudice can be claimed because it simply does not exist,” the judge wrote.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele opposed the defense motion.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.