Actor Stoney Westmoreland, who was fired from the Disney Channel show Andi Mack in December 2018 after being charged with soliciting a 13-year-old boy for sex, claims he can’t get a fair trial because U.S. District Judge Howard Nielson Jr., the judge assigned to his case, represented the proponents of California’s Proposition 8 as a private attorney.
The Deseret News reports: “Nielson argued that homosexuality is a choice and that people who are homosexual can become heterosexual via conversion therapy, defense attorney Wendy Lewis wrote in court documents filed last month. Lewis also notes that several members of Congress opposed Nielson’s appointment to the federal bench because they believed he is biased against gay people. Westmoreland is bisexual, according to court documents. Though the charges against him aren’t focused on homosexuality, Lewis wrote, the gay lifestyle, particularly the ‘hook-up culture’ which is ‘distinctly nontraditional,’ will be part of the trial.”
Nielson rejected a motion that he recuse himself, writing, “Indeed, even if I in fact held the personal views that defendant imputes to me based on positions that he believes I advanced on behalf of my clients — and I do not — a reasonable person would not assume that as a judge I would follow those views rather than the law that I have sworn to uphold.”
The Deseret News adds: “Westmoreland attempted to meet with a 13-year-old boy and take him back to his room at the Little America Hotel, according to court documents. The ‘boy,’ however, was an undercover police officer who Westmoreland allegedly communicated with on the app Grindr.”