Cosby's legal team pressuring judge to quit, delay retrial
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Bill Cosby's lawyers are expected to make a last-ditch effort later today to postpone the comedian's sexual assault retrial by pressuring the judge to step aside after losing their bid to overturn his ruling allowing up to five additional accusers to testify.
The defense first demanded Judge Steven O'Neill recuse himself last week, arguing in court papers that he could be seen as biased because his wife is a social worker who has described herself as an "advocate for assault victims."
Now the retooled defense team, led by former Michael Jackson lawyer Tom Mesereau, is going face-to-face with Judge O'Neill in his suburban Philadelphia courtroom at a final pretrial hearing before the start of jury selection on Monday.
Cosby was escorted into the courthouse this morning on the arm of his spokesman.
The 80-year-old Cosby has pleaded not guilty to charges he drugged and molested former Temple University athletics administrator Andrea Constand at his home in 2004.
Judge O'Neill presided over Cosby's first trial, which ended in a hung jury last year. The retrial could be delayed indefinitely if he bows out.
The judge's wife, Deborah O'Neill, is a psychotherapist at the University of Pennsylvania and coordinates a team that cares and advocates for student sexual assault victims. Cosby's lawyers said last year she gave money to a group linked to an organization that is planning a protest outside the retrial.
As Cosby's lawyers are battling with Judge O'Neill, they also are counting on him to make critical rulings to bolster their defense that Constand is a money-grubbing liar.