NORRISTOWN, Pa. – At the pretrial hearing for former university trustee Bill Cosby’s sexual assault case, a judge approved the defense’s motion to push back the retrial to spring.
Cosby’s new defense team also made its first courtroom appearance Tuesday morning at the Montgomery County Courthouse in front of Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O’Neill.
Sam Silver, a board member of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project at the Beasley School of Law, is one of the new members of Cosby’s defense. A university spokesperson declined to comment on Silver and Cosby’s shared Temple connection.
Cosby is also newly represented by California attorney Tom Mesereau, who helped get Michael Jackson acquitted of child molestation in 2005, and Kathleen Bliss, an attorney from Nevada.
The postponed trial date was granted, O’Neill said, because the new lawyers on Cosby’s defense team would need more time to prepare for the trial.
O’Neill set March 15 to April 1 as a “loose” timeframe for starting the new retrial. However, jury selection could begin sooner. Originally, the retrial was scheduled for Nov. 6.
O’Neill added that Montgomery County is the third largest county in Pennsylvania, and as such, he believes the courthouse can handle a case of this size. The judge also said the county could provide a suitable pool of jurors. The defense did not oppose the venue or the juror pool, but a motion wasn’t filed.
District Attorney Kevin Steele said during a press conference that it is “unfortunate” O’Neill postponed the retrial, but he is confident with the prosecution’s case.
“It’s a case that deserves a verdict, and we plan to get that,” he added.
O’Neill also approved Cosby’s prior defense attorneys Brian McMonagle and Angela Agrusa’s withdrawal from his defense. They requested to leave the case earlier this summer.
“I feel privileged to preside at a trial where these two advocates were able to practice their trade,” O’Neill said of the two attorneys, commenting on their representation of Cosby in the June trial.
Of Cosby’s new attorneys, only Silver is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania.
However, the legal team will be filing pro hac vice paperwork later this week, allowing Mesereau and Bliss to take on Cosby’s case, even though it falls outside their geographical jurisdiction.