12:50pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Bill Cosby Nears Sentencing After Judge Denies Bid to Overturn an Early Ruling
Bill Cosby won't get a shot at relitigating his criminal case before a different judge and is due to be sentenced next week following his conviction for a 2004 aggravated sexual assault of Andrea Constand.
Cosby earlier this month attempted to reset the case to its early stages, asking Judge Steven O'Neill to recuse himself and overturn a key February 2016 ruling in which he found that Cosby's due process rights weren't being violated in prosecuting him despite an alleged nonprosecution agreement from then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor. Cosby's attorneys argued that Castor's testimony wasn't considered because of a long-standing feud between him and O'Neill.
The court on Wednesday denied Cosby's motion. O'Neill found the request came too late and is meritless.
First, O'Neill says Cosby's legal team found out about the alleged feud before the comedian's retrial — and the fact that he ran for district attorney is public record and could have been discovered "in the exercise of due diligence by no less than 15 attorneys (and their private investigators)" that have been involved in the defense.
The judge then addressed the merit of the claim, explaining that he served his first six years on the bench with Castor as D.A. and no one ever complained of such a grudge.
Despite that, O'Neill says he "undertook conscientious reflection" on the claims and came to the conclusion that he has and can assess the case impartially and free of personal bias.
"This court simply has no bias against any witness called by the defense or the Defendant himself," writes O'Neill in the decision, which is posted below.
Cosby's reps did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the decision.