PROVO -- The Utah doctor convicted of murder after leaving his heavily drugged wife to die in a bathtub made a brief appearance in court Monday in a separate sexual abuse case.
Fourth District Judge Samuel McVey set a Jan. 23 date to hear arguments on motions filed by Martin MacNeill's attorney, The Salt Lake Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1f9doML ).
His lawyer, Randall Spencer, has asked McVey to dismiss the charge of forcible sexual abuse against MacNeill.
Spencer has also filed a motion to move the Feb. 4 trial outside Utah County because of a tainted jury pool after media coverage of his murder trial.
MacNeill is accused of sexually assaulting an adult female relative in 2007.
The 57-year-old was convicted in November of murder in the 2007 death of his wife, Michele. He is scheduled to be sentenced this week in that case but that will likely be delayed as MacNeill is seeking a new trial.
MacNeill argued in court documents last week that his cellmates lied when they testified that he confessed the killing to them.
Authorities said Martin MacNeill gave his wife drugs prescribed after cosmetic surgery and left her to drown in the bathtub of their home so he could begin a new life with his mistress. Experts said she had painkillers, Valium and sleeping pills in her system and likely drowned in the tub, while MacNeill's attorneys tried to prove she could have died of natural causes.
The trial became national news with the testimony from jailhouse snitches, doctors who said MacNeill pressured his wife into plastic surgery and persuaded them to prescribe her the drugs, and a mistress MacNeill introduced as a nanny soon after his wife's death.
The only evidence of homicide came from the two inmates, Spencer said, and he contends that evidence shows they lied in exchange for lighter sentences.
MacNeill has maintained his innocence, and the court documents filed in his request for a new trial also reveal he left a suicide note and slit a major leg artery with a disposable razor Dec. 5. Officials at Utah County jail intervened to save his life.
MacNeill faces 15 years to life in prison on charges of murder and obstruction of justice.
Prosecutors have said they're confident November's conviction will stand.