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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A judge has recused himself from the case involving the East Pittsburgh police officer accused of killing Antwon Rose II.
Judge Anthony Mariani announced the decision Wednesday morning. Judge Alexander Bicket has been appointed to the case.
Michael Rosfeld sat in the courtroom wearing a suit and said nothing.
His defense attorney, Pat Thomassey, was supposed to go back and forth with prosecutor Dan Fitzsimmons over three court motions.
Thomassey accused the prosecutor of withholding evidence and the prosecutor accused Thommasey of talking too much to the media.
It got heated before the Judge Mariani had enough and told them both to sit down because he had a lot of say.
Then, he said he’s going to step down from the case, because Thomassey raised the question if he can be impartial.
That’s because the judge made comments about the shooting on a local cable news show before he was assigned to the case.
Regardless, Mariani decided that it’s best for him to step down and let another judge take over.
“The judge wanted to make it very clear he is not biased, nor does he believe that the statements he made publicly were biased. However he does not want the appearance of impropriety. Sometimes, especially in high profile trials, that’s just as important as if there would be impropriety, but he clearly believes he could be unbiased,” attorney Phil DiLucente said. “But, since it was raised, he wanted to be very extra cautious to make sure that Mr. Rosfeld, as well as the Commonwealth, get a fair trial.”
DiLucente is not involved in the Rosfeld case.
Many think the next step is that defense is going to try to move the case out of the county.
The trial is set to begin on Feb. 26, 2019.
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