The judge who presided over Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial near Philadelphia will not recuse himself from the new trial, much to the dismay of Cosby’s lawyers, Deadline reports.
On Thursday, in an effort to delay the trial, Cosby’s lawyers argued that Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill should remove himself because his wife is involved with an organization that advocates for victims of sexual assault.
“I am unaware of many of my spouse’s involvement in many causes,” he said at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. “She’s an independent woman and has a right to be involved in anything she believes in.”
Cosby’s lead attorney, Tom Mesereau, claimed that O’Neill’s wife, Deborah O’Neill, who is the director of the Sexual Trauma Treatment and Prevention Program at the University of Pennsylvania, donated to an organization with ties to scheduled protests outside the courthouse of the trial.
The judge denied Mesereau’s argument and said that the donation was made by his wife’s employer and not his wife.
Cosby will go to trial on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004 at his home near Philadelphia.
The first trial in the case was dismissed last summer after O’Neill declared a mistrial after jurors could not reach a verdict.
“It’s difficult to have her accomplishments then trivialized,” O’Neill said. “My spouse and I share the love of each other and our families, our children and our grandchildren. What we do not share are unified views of social, legal and political issues.”
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.