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Cosby’s Lawyers and Wife Seek Judge’s Recusal Before Sentencing

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The Cosby team is asking that the judge vacate his February 2016 ruling, in which he rejected a defense motion to dismiss charges against Mr. Cosby, and remove himself from any further proceedings in the case.

Last week prosecutors asked Judge O’Neill to allow several other accusers to join Ms. Constand in testifying at the sentencing hearing to present their accounts of having been sexually abused by Mr. Cosby.

The Cosby team is looking to block such testimony and argued Tuesday that the judge should recuse himself on the additional grounds that he is more likely to believe “disputed claims of abuse,” because his wife works as a sexual abuse counselor at the University of Pennsylvania. In March, the judge denied a similar defense request, saying his wife’s beliefs and professional activities “do not influence me one iota.”

As the court motion was filed, Mr. Cosby’s wife, Camille, issued a statement calling on the judge to disclose the history of his relationship with Mr. Castor. “That this judge,” she said, “would hide his bias and decide that his rival, the former D.A., could not be trusted to give truthful testimony, shows that the judge let his own personal feelings override Mr. Cosby’s right to a fair trial.” She also released a statement in April, after the jury verdict, accusing the judge of “arrogantly collaborating” with prosecutors.

Lynne Abraham, a lawyer and former Philadelphia District Attorney, called the motion a “Hail Mary pass” that was not based on any legal theory that the judge had acted imprudently. Alan Tauber, a Philadelphia defense attorney, predicted the judge would say he didn’t bear a grudge and “held no animosity” regarding Mr. Castor’s campaign actions.

Mr. Castor, now in private practice, did not respond to requests for comment. Stacey Witalec, a spokeswoman for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, said it was unlikely that court administrators would comment on behalf of Judge O’Neill.


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