Cosby hires Michael Jackson lawyer to defend him in sex-assault retrial
PHILADELPHIA -- Bill Cosby has hired Tom Mesereau -- the Los Angeles-based attorney who helped acquit Michael Jackson at his 2005 child molestation trial -- to defend him at his Nov. 6 retrial on sexual assault charges, a spokesman for the 80-yea...
PHILADELPHIA - Bill Cosby has hired Tom Mesereau - the Los Angeles-based attorney who helped acquit Michael Jackson at his 2005 child molestation trial - to defend him at his Nov. 6 retrial on sexual assault charges, a spokesman for the 80-year-old entertainer said Monday.
In a statement, the spokesman said Mesereau will join a newly constituted defense team that includes two other lawyers: Kathleen Bliss of Las Vegas and Sam Silver of Philadelphia.
The trio are expected to replace Brian J. McMonagle of Philadelphia and Angela Agrusa of Los Angeles, who have asked to bow out of the case after representing Cosby at his first trial in June, a two-week proceeding that ended with a deadlocked jury and mistrial.
None of the members of Cosby's new legal team immediately responded to requests for comment Monday. Cosby, in a tweet, said he was "pleased to announce" the team.
Meserau had expressed an interest in representing Cosby as far back as 2015, when the entertainer was first charged in the decade-old case involving accuser Andrea Constand, according to sources familiar with their discussions. His past celebrity clients have also included boxer Mike Tyson, actor Robert Blake and music producer Suge Knight.
Silver, a lawyer with the Center City-based Schnader firm, has been part of Cosby's legal team since last year, primarily focused on civil cases involving allegations from some of the more than 50 women who have accused the entertainer or drugging and assaulting them.
His move to the forefront of the criminal defense comes a year after he represented U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah in a federal corruption trial that ended in conviction. Silver also represented former Pennsylvania State President Graham B. Spanier in his child-endangerment trial.
Bliss, a former federal prosecutor, has managed her own boutique law firm in a suburb of Las Vegas since 2015.
Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O'Neill has set a hearing for Tuesday to consider the requests by McMonagle and Agrusa to leave the case.
It was not immediately clear Monday whether Meserau, Silver or Bliss planned to attend.
Cosby has denied charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted Constand, a former operations manager for Temple University's women's basketball team, as she visited his Cheltenham mansion in 2004.