After all the strident acrimony between Bill Cosby’s various lawyers and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office since the once beloved actor was first arrested almost three years ago for the 2004 rape of Andrea Constead, it should surprise no one that prosecutors today weren’t very receptive to new efforts to get the judge in the case tossed.
However, as the sentencing hearing on the 81-year old Cosby being found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault this spring in a retrial is just weeks away, it is a bit bracing just how fierce and mocking Kevin Steele’s office were in their official response.
“Defendant William H. Cosby, Jr., through now his sixteenth counsel of record, asserts claims that are neither new nor credible,” wrote the Pennsylvania county D.A. Thursday of the much accused actor’s September 11 motion to get Judge Steven O’Neill recused or removed from the case.
“They are, however, in line with other spurious and salacious claims he has made against a variety of parties to this case, all in an effort to avoid accountability and avert a long overdue day of reckoning,” the response (read it here) adds of claims that the Norristown, PA baed O’Neill lacks impartiality because of political run-ins with a past D.A. and because of his wife’s work with an advocacy group for sexual assault victims.
“Time has come for defendant to face the consequences of his crimes and misdeeds. No stale tabloid report or legally baseless claim should stand in the way of sentencing in this matter,” Steele says, with decades behind bars possible for Cosby out of the September 24 starting sentencing hearing and the D.A. seeking to have a number of alleged victims of the actor address the court.
Or put another way, in the 12-page filing: “The Commonwealth respectfully requests that this Court deny defendant’s procedurally defective, waived, and/ or meritless claims contained in his Motion for Disclosure, Recusal, and for Reconsideration of Recusal without a hearing.”
The somewhat under sieged Judge O’Neill, who in March quickly rejected a previous recusal motion by previous lawyers of Cosby, has not yet ruled if there will be a hearing on this latest motion from now defense lawyer Joseph P. Green.
However, if previous actions by previous Cosby attorneys are any roadmap, expect at least one more potential pothole on the way to the already schedule sentencing hearing.
More than 60 women have claimed in recent years that Cosby sexually assaulted or drugged them, with some incidents occurring as far back the late 1960s. He stood trial on criminal charges in the Keystone State because the jurisdiction has a much longer statute of limitations on sex crimes than most states. At the same time, several other civil cases around the nation are pending. Cosby was arraigned December 30, 2015 in the criminal case and released on $1 million bail.
Despite admitting in depositions more than a decade ago to giving Constand Benadryl pills on the night of the alleged assault in his Philadelphia-area mansion over a decade ago, Cosby has insisted through various investigations and two trials that the encounter with the ex-Temple University employee was consensual.
Reps for Cosby did not respond to request for comment by Deadline today.