Bill Cosby recently hired celebrity attorney Tom Mesereau to defend him against sexual assault charges in the Andrea Constand case. (Pool Photo)
By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
During a recent hearing for the retrial in his infamous sexual assault case in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Bill Cosby unveiled his new defense team.
The embattled entertainer arrived at the Montgomery County courthouse flanked by publicists Andrew Wyatt and Ebonee Benson, but it was the flowing white locks of attorney Tom Mesereau that brought the dramatics to an otherwise procedural and unexciting day.
“I think you can say we went from a Mercedes Benz to a Rolls Royce,” Wyatt said of Mesereau, the star trial attorney who successfully represented “Baretta” star Robert Blake, when the actor stood trial for the murder of his wife; Blake was acquitted after a three-month long trial.
Mesereau, who arguably does more pro bono work for underserved individuals than any other celebrity lawyer, also represented Suge Knight and Mike Tyson.
But, it was Mesereau’s Perry Mason-like defense of Michael Jackson in 2005 that probably earned him the reputation as maybe the best criminal defense lawyer on the planet.
The King of Pop faced 13 counts of child molestation and other charges involving a young cancer patient whose brother allegedly witnessed the assault.
After the “Thriller” singer fired high-profile attorneys Mark Geragos and Benjamin Brafman during the trial, he hired Mesereau who tore through prosecution witnesses with sharp and cutting cross-examinations.
During the recent Cosby trial hearing, Mesereau was joined by Nevada attorney Kathleen Bliss and Philadelphia lawyer Sam Silver, who represented former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah on corruption charges in 2016.
The new team replaced Brian McMonagle and Angela Agrusa, both of whom represented Cosby during the first trial in June that ended with a hung jury.
Judge Steven O’Neill praised the attorneys, but appeared to be in awe of Mesereau, several times commenting on his stellar reputation.
That reputation appeared to have paid dividends already, as O’Neill granted Mesereau’s request to delay the start of the planned Nov. 6 retrial, postponing it until “sometime between March 15 and April 1 of 2018.”
Cosby, 80, faces three counts of aggravated sexual assault that stemmed from an encounter with former Temple University employee Andrea Constand more than a dozen years ago.
He has maintained his innocence and Wyatt said the comedian “is sleeping pretty good these days,” with the hiring of Mesereau and the new team.
Cosby went to trial in June, but the jury, brought in from Allegheny County, was deadlocked after 52 hours of deliberations, leading to O’Neill declaring a mistrial.
Prosecutor Kevin Steele, immediately, said he would retry the case.
After the nearly two-hour proceeding, Cosby and his attorneys said nothing as they left the courthouse late this morning. Steele, however, made some brief comments, saying it’s unfortunate that the case has been delayed.
“We’re ready to proceed…we are confident in our case and the evidence, and we’ll be ready when we get a trial date from the judge,” Steele told reporters after the hearing. “This is a case that deserves a verdict and we intend to get there.”