Days before comedian Bill Cosby is scheduled to be sentenced in his sex assault case, Montgomery County, Pa., Judge Steven O’Neill denied a defense motion that he step down from the case. The AP reports that Cosby’s lawyers sought to remove O’Neill because of what they say is an old grudge between O’Neill and a pretrial witness.
O’Neill has sat on the case “through two trials, hard-fought pretrial hearings and 15 defense lawyers since Cosby’s arrest on Dec. 30, 2015,” the AP notes. Cosby’s two-day sentencing hearing is now set to begin Monday.
“A jury this spring convicted him of drugging and molesting a woman friend at his home in 2004,” the AP reports. “The actor, now 81 and legally blind, faces a guideline sentence of about one to four years, but O’Neill can choose anything from probation to a 30-year prison term.”
The report adds: “Camille Cosby filed a state ethics complaint this week accusing O’Neill of bias against her husband because of what she called his feud with a former prosecutor who testified in an early 2016 pretrial hearing. O’Neill had competed against the witness, Bruce Castor, for a political post years ago.”