Bill Cosby lawyers have asked Judge Steven O’Neill to step aside from Cosby’s retrial because of his wife’s advocacy for sexual assault victims, the Associated Press reports.
Cosby’s defense team said that several of O’Neill’s recent rulings, including his decision last week to allow five additional accusers to testify in the Cosby’s upcoming trial, showed a “clear appearance of partiality” and could be evidence that his ruling’s were being influenced by his wife Deborah O’Neill’s work as a social worker, according to the New York Times. (RELATED: Judge Allows 5 More Accusers To Testify In Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Retrial)
The judge’s wife works at the University of Pennsylvania as part of the Sexual Trauma Treatment Outreach and Prevention program.
Cosby is facing charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted a former Temple University employee at his home in Philadelphia in 2004.
At last year’s trial, O’Neill did not allow a handful of accusers to be included in Cosby’s first trial. The judge only permitted the woman who accused him of the assault in 2004, Andrea Constand, and another woman Kelly Johnson.
The first trial was declared a mistrial by O’Neill after the jury remained “deadlocked on all counts” following six days of deliberations.
Jury selection for the retrial begins March 29 with the trial date set for April 2.