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Judge denies Bill Cosby’s request for recusal in sexual assault trial

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Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images(PENNSYLVANIA) — The judge in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial has denied the comedian’s request to for him to recuse himself from the case due to his wife’s involvement with an advocacy organization for sexual assault victims, according to Deadline.

In response to Cosby’s motion for recusal, Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill said, “I am unaware of many of my spouse’s involvement in many causes. She’s an independent woman and has a right to be involved in anything she believes in.”

O’Neill’s wife, Deborah O’Neill, is the director of the Sexual Trauma Treatment and Prevention Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Tom Mesereau, Cosby’s lead attorney, argued that she had made a donation to an organization affiliated with a protest scheduled for outside the courthouse during Cosby’s trial. Therefore, O’Neill’s marital assets had been used to support an organization connected with the case.

O’Neill shot down the argument, saying that the donation was made by her employer, not his wife.

Cosby reportedly responded by shaking his head and laughing quietly.

This was Cosby’s second request for O’Neill’s recusal. The first motion was filed by Cosby’s earlier defense team in 2016.

Cosby’s trial last summer on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, at his Philadelphia-area home in 2004, ended in a hung jury and mistrial.

Jury selection in the retrial, scheduled to begin on Thursday, has been pushed to next Monday instead, according to Deadline. Both the prosecution and Cosby’s defense team reportedly want the trial begin April 9. O’Neill said he would consider the request, but has yet to agree to the date.

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