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Cosby, wife demand judge’s recusal

  • Andrew Wyatt, left, Bill Cosby, center, and his wife, Camille Cosby, right, enter the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., on June 12, 2017. Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS



New York Daily News
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Bill Cosby and his wife, Camille, want the Pennsylvania judge who oversaw his retrial and sex assault conviction in April off the case before his sentencing in two weeks.

In a blistering statement Tuesday, Camille Cosby said Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill is too biased to sentence her husband Sept. 24 due to his alleged bad blood with former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor, who declined to prosecute Cosby back in 2006.

“Bill Cosby was not afforded an impartial judge and he did not receive a fair trial. Instead, my husband was forced to go to trial before a judge, Steven T. O’Neill, who had a bitter, longstanding feud with one of the key witnesses in the case, Bruce Castor,” Camille Cosby said in her statement.

Before Cosby’s first trial in 2016, which ended in deadlock, O’Neill ruled the jurors would not hear about the alleged non-prosecution agreement Castor struck with Cosby’s lawyers.

Camille Cosby argued in her statement that O’Neill “refused to believe” Castor’s testimony about the agreement because he was locked in a “personal feud” with Mr. Castor dating back to 1999, when they ran against each other for the DA position.

She claimed Castor had a female assistant DA who previously dated O’Neill appear at a debate to rattle his political rival.

Camille Cosby claimed the woman’s appearance “embarrassed” O’Neill and contributed to his withdrawal from the race.

O’Neill previously declined to recuse himself in the case.

Castor declined to prosecute Cosby after accuser Andrea Constand stepped forward in 2005 and said the comedian sexually assaulted her inside his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004.

Castor later lost an election to current Montgomery County DA Kevin Steele.

Steele filed criminal charges against Cosby in December 2015, shortly before the statute of limitations on Constand’s allegations expired.

Cosby lawyer Joseph P. Green echoed Camille Cosby’s statement in a Tuesday court filing that O’Neill “erred” in not recusing himself, considering his “nasty” history with Castor.

In separate paperwork filed Monday, Cosby’s defense opposed the prosecution’s recent request to have accusers testify at sentencing.

Prosecutors haven’t said which accusers they would like to call, but five testified at Cosby’s April trial before he was convicted of three counts of aggravated sex assault.

In a court filing, Green said testimony about uncharged conduct is only allowed at sentencing hearings in Pennsylvania if a defendant remains a public threat.

“Allegations of misconduct that are more than 20 years old have no relevance to the (necessarily future) ‘protection of the public’ from an 81-year-old unsighted man,” Green wrote.

Cosby, who has a home in Shelburne, Massachusetts, faces up to 10 years in prison on the three felony counts, but he could get far less under sentencing guidelines.

His defense also plans to fight a state board’s recommendation that Cosby be classified as a sexually violent predator, which would require him to undergo mandatory sex offender counseling and alert neighbors if he is released.