NORRISTOWN, Pa. — A Montgomery County judge on Tuesday agreed to delay Bill Cosby’s retrial until early 2018, acting on a request from the entertainer’s new defense team.
Judge Steven O’Neill didn’t set a date, but told the lawyers that he’ll “loosely fix” the retrial for mid-March or early April.
The order came at the end of a hearing in Norristown in which the judge allowed Cosby’s previous lawyers to withdraw from the case and met with his new defense team.
Led by Tom Mesereau, the new lawyers said they wanted to delay the Nov. 6 retrial, ostensibly to prepare, but told the judge they won’t have to go through the same complicated jury selection process that in the spring led to 18 jurors being chosen in Pittsburgh, then bused and sequestered in Norristown for the trial.
“Our strong inclination is to try the case right here in this county,” he told the judge.
The hearing was the first for Cosby since his former lawyers asked the judge this month to withdraw from the case.
The 80-year-old entertainer announced Monday that Mesereau, a California lawyer who defended Michael Jackson against child-molestation charges, would lead the defense team at his retrial. Philadelphia-based lawyer Sam Silver, who defended both U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and ex-Pennsylvania State University President Graham Spanier, will also join Cosby’s defense team, as will Kathleen Bliss, a lawyer from Las Vegas.
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O’Neill on Tuesday granted the requests by Philadelphia defense lawyer Brian McMonagle, and Los Angeles-based lawyer Angela Agrusa, to leave the case. Both were with Cosby for more than a year and through the June trial that ended with a hung jury.
In that case, jurors were selected in Pittsburgh and sequestered in Montgomery County for the duration of the trial. District Attorney Kevin R. Steele immediately vowed to retry the case and seek justice for Andrea Constand, the alleged victim.
Cosby is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault, for allegedly drugging and molesting Constand, a former Temple University employee, at his home in Cheltenham in 2004.