Convicted comedian Bill Cosby’s team of lawyers recently filed a motion against Judge Stephen O’Neill, who’s been there from the beginning of 81-year-old Cosby’s assault trials. The defense claimed that O’Neill was biased because of a past political campaign and a “nasty” personal conflict with prior district attorney, Bruce Castor, who was a pretrial witness in the case.
Camille Cosby, Bill Cosby’s wife of 54 years, also went to the state’s Judicial Conduct Board’s office in Harrisburg, PA. There, she distributed a statement in advance — accusing O’Neill of bias and “hidden motives” when he presided over two trials of Cosby on three counts of aggravated felony sexual assault, as reported by USA Today.
“My husband was improperly prosecuted in a trial presided over by an unethical judge who seeks to compound his unethical behavior by sentencing Bill Cosby,” Camille Cosby’s statement said.
— WHYY News (@WHYYNews) September 17, 2018
However, on Wednesday O’Neill denied the motion to remove himself from the trial.
The sentencing hearing in regard to the three counts will proceed on Monday, according to a report by CNN.
“This Court is confident that it has and can continue to assess this case in an impartial manner, free of personal bias or interest in the outcome,” O’Neill wrote in the order. “This Court finds no merit in any of the bases alleged by the Defendant and Court will not recuse itself.”
When the first trial ended in a deadlock in June 2017, the defense criticized the judge — and District Attorney Kevin Steele — from the courthouse steps.
Cosby was convicted in April 2018 of assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004, following testimony from more than a half-dozen women who stated under oath that the actor and comedian drugged and assaulted them. 60 other women accuse Cosby of misconduct during his 50-year show business career. O’Neill allowed five of them to testify at trial, and Steele wants some of them to speak at the sentencing.
“How many women will it take before one woman is believed against the denials of a rich, powerful, famous man? Now we know the answer.” Victims' rights attorney Gloria Allred speaks about Billy Cosby’s guilty verdict https://t.co/5oDdmwZkZU pic.twitter.com/ssqGC5c37W
— CNN (@CNN) April 26, 2018
Cosby faces a sentence of one to four years. But O’Neill can choose anything from house arrest with probation to a 30-year prison term as a punitive result, at his sole discretion. The maximum term is 10 years per count.
“If you give a sentence in the middle, almost no one can complain,” said Daniel Filler, Dean of Drexel University’s Kline School of Law, in an interview with NBC Philadelphia. “And because the case has mitigating factors and aggravating factors, that’s the most likely outcome.”
Cosby should learn his fate by Tuesday.