Bill Cosby has signed up a new team of lawyers to defend him at his second trial on sexual-assault charges, including Thomas Mesereau, the flamboyantly mop-haired lawyer who famously defended accused celebrities Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson, Robert Blake and Marion "Suge" Knight.
Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt announced Monday the new Cosby defense team will consist of Mesereau of Los Angeles, Kathleen Bliss of Nevada, a former federal prosecutor for 22 years, and Sam Silver, a litigation specialist and lecturer in the law school of the University of Pennsylvania.
Cosby's second trial on three counts of aggravated indecent assault stemming from an encounter with Andrea Constand at his home outside Philadelphia in 2014, is set to begin Nov. 6.
A pre-trial hearing to discuss Cosby's new legal team, among other matters, is scheduled for Tuesday in Norristown, Pa.
Mesereau, who appears regularly on lists of the nation's best trial lawyers, was widely respected in California but shot to international fame after the Jackson case.
His first celebrity client was Tyson, the former world heavyweight boxing champion and convicted rapist, who was investigated on different sexual assault charges in San Bernardino County in 2001. Mesereau persuaded prosecutors to drop the case.
Early in 2005, Mesereau became Blake's second lawyer defending him against murder charges in the death of his wife, and managed to obtain bail for the actor after he spent months in jail in Los Angeles. But Mesereau quit the case, declining to explain why. Blake was eventually acquitted in March 2005.
In 2015, Mesereau was retained by rap mogul Knight to represent him on murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run charges after a man was killed by a vehicle driven by Knight near the set of Straight Outta Compton. But he was Knight's fourth lawyer by that point and he, too, eventually quit the case in January 2016.
Cosby's first team of defense lawyers, Brian McMonagle and Angela Agrusa, have asked Judge Steven O'Neill to withdraw from the case but haven't said why. The two led Cosby's legal team at his June trial, which ended in a mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
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