Eugene Robert Anderson
George Cosenza denies he was trying to get out of Robert Anderson's computer child pornography case. He says his request to be excused as counsel for the former Marietta College professor was purely a financial issue.
"Mr. Anderson is indigent; that means he doesn't have the funds to hire a lawyer or pay for his defense, Cosenza said. "By filing this motion, I never had any intention or to show that I wanted to abandon Dr. Anderson."
Cosenza is still Anderson's attorney, but now as a public defender. If he had been excused, a change in attorneys could have delayed the planned Oct. 1 trial.
At a hearing Friday, Judge George Hill called it, "a relatively complicated case. It would take other counsel some time to get up to speed."
Something which also could delay the trial, is Cosenza's intention, announced Friday, to request the trial be moved out of Parkersburg, due to the publicity generated by the case, and his Washington County trial, in which Anderson was convicted of more than 100 child prostitution and pornography charges.
Prosecutor Ginny Conley said how the publicity will affect choosing a jury for the West Virginia trial, is something, which can't be determined until jury selection gets under way.
"I've been surprised in other high-profile murder cases," Conley said, "where the jurors aren't as familiar with the case as you would think they may be. They may remember a bit or a piece of it, but they can still set that aside and be a fair and impartial jury."
What in part brought about the publicity, was the magnitude of the Ohio case, touted by the State Attorney General's office as the largest of its kind in the state's history.
Anderson's case also has been of interest in Athens, because prosecutors say his home and work computers were connected with a computer at Ohio University.