In response to Bill Cosby’s renewed push to get a new judge on his case, prosecutors have called his claims “neither new nor credible” and said they are “in line with other spurious and salacious claims he has made” throughout his criminal case.
In a filing Thursday, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said Cosby’s latest motion, filed Tuesday, is ”an effort to avoid accountability and avert a long overdue day of reckoning.”
Prosecutors argued that Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O’Neill does not have an obligation to recuse from the case because he competed in an election against a key witness in the case, Bruce Castor Jr., 20 years ago. They noted that O’Neill presided over more than 2,000 criminal cases during Castor’s tenure as Montgomery County district attorney.
“If this court had any axe to grind against the former district attorney, it’s remarkable that this is the first time it has ever surfaced in the nearly 20 years since this court took the bench,” Steele’s filing said.
Prosecutors also argued that Cosby cannot point to any evidence of bias against Castor during his lengthy testimony at a two-day hearing in 2016 on Cosby’s petition for writ of habeas corpus.
Additionally, the filing said, the article Cosby referenced in his motion for recusal was published on Radar Online, which is owned by the same company as the National Enquirer, in March 2018. That makes the latest motion untimely, prosecutors argued. They also argued that Cosby’s request does not meet the requirements of a pre-sentence motion.
“Time has come for defendant to face the consequences of his crimes and misdeeds,” Steele’s filing said. “No stale tabloid report or legally baseless claim should stand in the way of sentencing in this matter.”
Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault in April, based on Andrea Constand’s allegations that he sexually assaulted her in 2004. His sentencing hearing is set to begin Sept. 24.
Lawyers for Cosby filed a motion Tuesday in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas seeking “disclosures regarding prior interactions with Bruce Castor,” asking the court to vacate its 2016 ruling on Cosby’s petition for writ of habeas corpus and arguing that O’Neill recuse from the case.
Cosby filed that petition shortly after charges were filed, arguing that his attorneys in 2005 had an enforceable agreement with the District Attorney’s Office that he would not be prosecuted. Castor was district attorney at that time, and he made a public announcement when his office chose not to bring charges against Cosby based on Constand’s allegations.
Current District Attorney Steele had reopened the case and brought charges after portions of a civil deposition Cosby gave in 2005 and 2006, in which Cosby admitted to giving a woman drugs in order to have sex with her, became public.
Castor testified at the hearing in February 2016 on that petition, and said he made a binding promise in 2005 that Cosby would not be prosecuted. But after two days of testimony and argument, O’Neill ruled in prosecutors’ favor, denying Cosby’s petition to have the charges dismissed. O’Neill’s order said a credibility judgment was inherent in his ruling.
Cosby’s lawyers want a new hearing on the petition, their latest motion said, with a new judge.
Joseph P. Green, who is representing Cosby, reached for comment Thursday, said, “The motion speaks for itself.”