The judge in Bill Cosby's retrial rejected demands from the comedian's defense lawyers to step aside during a Thursday hearing in which they made clear they plan to attack his accuser as a greedy liar who falsely accused him of sexually assaulting her to collect a payoff. Judge Steven O'Neill shot down what amounted to a last-ditch effort to postpone the trial by defense lawyers who lost their bid to overturn his ruling allowing up to five additional accusers to testify against Cosby, the AP reports. Lawyers argued the judge should remove himself because his wife is a social worker and advocate for assault victims, pointing to a $100 donation made in her name to an organization that gave money to a group planning a protest outside the retrial.
The judge said the donation was made 13 months ago by the department where his wife works at the University of Pennsylvania and he's "not biased or prejudiced" by her work. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday as the 80-year-old Cosby faces charges he drugged and molested former Temple University athletics administrator Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Cosby's lawyers want the judge to let them call Marguerite Jackson, who claims Constand spoke of framing a celebrity before she went to police with the allegations. Assistant District Attorney Kristen Fedden said prosecutors doubt the discussion with Jackson happened and Constand's lawyer has said Jackson is "not telling the truth." (Five other Cosby accusers will be allowed to testify.)