Bill Cosby’s criminal case retrial for the alleged 2004 rape of Andrea Constand will now start in the spring of 2018, a Pennsylvania judge said today. At a hearing in Norristown, PA, Judge Steve O’Neill announced the retrial of the much-accused Cosby that was scheduled to begin on November 6 would now commence between March 15 and April 1 next year.
A day after officially being named to the job as Bill Cosby’s new top defense lawyer Tom Mesereau on Tuesday asked for the retrial to be pushed back from its original start date.
With Cosby in attendance, along with defense attorneys past and present, Mesereau told the hearing in Judge O’Neill’s courtroom that he would be filing a motion to have the retrial rescheduled because of previous obligations. The lawyer who helped Michael Jackson achieve acquittal on child molestation charges in 2005 also told the hearing that despite rumors the Cosby defense would seek a change of venue, he thinks the retrial should take place in Montgomery County with a local jury.
After a mistrial was declared on June 17 on the three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault that could see Cosby in jail for a decade if found guilty, the retrial was announced almost immediately after the first trial ended. The initial November 6 date was made public in early July. The first trial used a jury that had come from the Pittsburgh area of the Keystone State because of concerns that a local jury was too biased based on resident Cosby’s long history in the Philadelphia region and media coverage.
Judge O’Neill told the assembled attorneys on Tuesday morning that he understood how a newly named legal team could need more time to prepare their defense for the 80-year once beloved actor. Not longer afterwards, Mesereau and Cosby’s other lawyers Kathleen Bliss and Sam Silver and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office went back to Judge O’Neill’s chambers to look at possible new dates for the retrial – which they obviously determined.
Accused by more than 60 women of sexually assaulting and drugging them over the decades, Cosby faces not only the criminal case in Pennsylvania, which has a much longer statute of limitations on sex crimes than most jurisdictions, but several other civil cases around the nation. Cosby was arraigned December 30, 2015 in the criminal case and released on $1 million bail.
Despite admitting in depositions more than a decade ago to giving Constand Benadryl pills on the night nearly 13-years ago of the alleged assault in his Philadelphia-area mansion, Cosby always has insisted that the encounter with the ex-Temple University employee was consensual. Montgomery County D.A. Kevin Steele thought otherwise as did Constand herself, who took the stand for nearly 10-hours in the first trial.
Constand is expected to testify in the retrial but not word yet if Cosby, who did not take the stand in his own defense, will do the same.
Now former Cosby lawyers Angela Agrusa and Brian McMonagle defense lawyers were also at the hearing in Norristown today. After serving the actor in the first trial, both the Philly-based McMonagle and the LA-based Agrusa filed paperwork this summer to withdraw from the criminal case, joining a long list of ex-Cosby attorneys. However, while not involved in the criminal case, Agrusa will continue to work for Cosby in various civil cases against him around the country.
One of those cases has a start date close to the new beginning of the criminal case.
Currently, a civil trial is set for July 30, 2018 in the case of an alleged assault by Cosby 42 years ago against then-15-year-old Judy Huth at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion. Although the California’s former statute of limitations expired on Huth’s claims of being sexually attacked by the actor in 1974, she was still able to file in 2014 because she was a minor at the time of the alleged incident.