Bill Cosby has a new lawyer, and he’s no rookie when it comes to high-profile celebrity criminal trials.
Cosby’s new lawyers are Tom Mesereau, Kathleen Bliss and local counsel Sam Silver, spokesman Andrew Wyatt announced Monday. Mesereau, of Los Angeles, is best known for representing Michael Jackson in a 2005 trial over alleged child molestation. Jackson was acquitted of the charges.
Silver, of Philadelphia firm Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, represented Cosby in a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the comedian’s accuser, Andrea Constand, which Cosby has since dropped. Cosby had alleged that Constand violated a settlement agreement the pair reached in 2006 by cooperating with law enforcement in the criminal case.
Bliss, a Nevada lawyer and longtime federal prosecutor, formed a litigation boutique in 2015 focusing on individual liberties and civil rights. Before hanging a shingle, she was a partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, where she established and led a white-collar and federal investigations practice.
Wyatt declined to comment further on the new legal team.
Mesereau, reached by phone Monday, said he and Bliss have not yet filed admission documents, but plan to appear at the Montgomery County Courthouse on Tuesday for a pretrial hearing.
Cosby’s retrial is scheduled to begin Nov. 6. Judge Steven T. O’Neill declared a mistrial in June, when a jury became deadlocked after deliberating more than five days.
In the first trial, Cosby was represented by Brian McMonagle, of Philadelphia’s McMonagle, Perri, McHugh & Mischak, and Angela Agrusa of Liner LLP. Both have filed motions to withdraw from the case.
A hearing in the case has been scheduled for Tuesday to resolve the motions to withdraw and other pretrial matters. In Agrusa’s motion to withdraw, filed last week, she said Cosby would like to delay the hearing until Sept. 11 because he had not secured new counsel.
It took additional effort to find new lawyers in part because of the “import and particularities of this high-profile and sensationalized matter,” Agrusa’s motion said.
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office filed a response opposing a stay, saying Cosby was seeking to “further delay the timely administration of justice.”
A spokeswoman for the DA’s Office said the delay request had been withdrawn as of Monday afternoon.
Cosby is facing three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly sexually assaulting Constand in 2004 at his home in Cheltenham.