The attorney for Bill Cosby in his criminal trial for sexual assault filed a motion Friday to have the case moved out of Montgomery County because, in part, "prospective jurors in Montgomery County have been uniquely subjected to extensive, sustained, and pervasive negative coverage of the case."
The motion did not recommend a new venue for the case, but attorney Brian McMonagle asked Common Pleas Judge Steven O'Neill to either grant the request or hold a hearing to discuss a change of venue further.
McMonagle wrote that widespread coverage of the case, which involves an allegation that Cosby drugged and molested a woman at his Elkins Park home in 2004, has "spread across the globe," but that potential jurors in Montgomery County have been witness to Montgomery County District Attorney "Kevin Steele's use of Mr. Cosby as a political pawn in his campaign for election" last year.
"In October 2015, Mr. Steele repeatedly ran a 30-second campaign ad attacking political rival Bruce Castor for failing to prosecute Mr. Cosby," McMonagle wrote in the motion. "Mr. Steele made his promise to secure a conviction of Mr. Cosby a centerpiece of his campaign, going as far as to brand Mr. Cosby a 'sexual predator,' and thereby unleashing an unrelenting torrent of inflammatory and sensationalist headlines in Montgomery County."
A spokeswoman for the Montgomery County District Attorney's office said in an email that "District Attorney Steele has previously indicated to the Court and to the defense that he will not oppose a change of venue or venire."
O'Neill could rule immediately on the motion, release a ruling in the near future or decide to hold a hearing on it.
Cosby, 79, is scheduled to go on trial in June, with numerous issues still outstanding in the case. Multiple hearings are expected in the first few months of 2017 ahead of the trial.