Cosby stands convicted of sexually assaulting ex-Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004. Back then, the parties reached a settlement and the sitting Montgomery County District Attorney, Bruce Castor, agreed not to prosecute Cosby. After deposition testimony was unsealed, in which Cosby admitted to giving women quaaludes, current DA Kevin Steele moved full steam ahead with prosecution. Steele’s motives have been criticized as purely political, particularly because his campaign ads attacked Castor for his decision not to prosecute and he announced Cosby’s arrest the month after he was elected.
Now, Cosby’s legal team is challenging Judge Steven T. O’Neill’s motives and wants to take the case back to the very beginning. According to a motion filed Tuesday, Cosby wants O’Neill to recuse himself and overturn a key February 2016 ruling in which he found that Cosby’s due process rights weren’t being violated in prosecuting him despite the alleged non-prosecution agreement from Castor.
Cosby’s attorneys claim that during a late-’90s political campaign between the two men, Castor learned that O’Neill had previously had a romantic relationship with one of his deputy district attorneys. Castor then required his DDA to publicly support him at a debate with O’Neill, which Cosby’s attorneys say hurt the judge’s performance. O’Neill lost and Cosby’s team says that humiliation drove his grudge with Castor.
Castor was a key witness during a hearing on Cosby’s motion to dismiss the case, and his attorneys argue that O’Neill should have disclosed his personal conflict and recused himself. Instead, he actually cross-examined the witness and ultimately rejected the testimony.