Cosby prosecutor opposes defense bid to have judge step down

FILE - In this June 17, 2017 file photo, Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. The prosecutor in Cosby’s sex-assault case is opposing the actor’s demand that the trial judge step down before the sentencing in September 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — The prosecutor in Bill Cosby's sex-assault case is opposing the actor's demand that the trial judge step down before this month's sentencing.

Cosby's lawyers say Judge Steven O'Neill has a longstanding grudge with a key pretrial witness and should recuse himself. O'Neill is set to sentence Cosby on Sept. 24 over a 2004 encounter with a woman at his estate near Philadelphia.

The witness is a former county prosecutor, Bruce Castor, who declined to charge Cosby when the woman came forward in 2005.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele in a court filing Thursday notes that the judge handled some 2,000 criminal cases during Castor's tenure.

Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison on each count but could get far less time under state sentencing guidelines.

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This story has been corrected to say O'Neill handled 2,000 cases during Castor's tenure, not that Castor served for 20 years.

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