Bill Cosby has had a revolving door of attorneys the past few years and now with a retrial approaching this fall for the much accused actor in the criminal case for a 2004 rape charge, it looks like he will be making more changes in his legal team.
While Brian McMonagle is still actively on the defense team with litigator Angela Agrusa, we hear that the aggressive Philadelphia-based attorney could be exiting in the coming weeks. Having been with Cosby since almost right after the actor was arrested on a charge of sexual assault against former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at the end of 2015, McMonagle could leave the defense as Cosby contemplates bringing in new blood for the retrial set for November 6 in Norristown, PA.
“A new trial is a chance to reset and find the right players to get the judgment the defense desires,” an individual close to the workings of Team Cosby tells Deadline. “It’s not personal,” the source added of the rumors that started last week that McMonagle could be out. Like a smart lawyer, McMonagle did not respond to Deadline’s request for comment. However, Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt told Deadline this evening that “right now, our legal team is in place.” He would not comment further on the matter.
Unlike the June 5-starting first trial with its deadlocked jury, if found guilty, Cosby faces more than 10 years in jail for the three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault. Intent on pursuing the new trial against the actor ASAP, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele’s office has not indicated since the mistrial was declared on June 17 that they were going to change the charges.
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, who turns 80 on Wednesday, was arraigned December 30, 2015 in the criminal case and released on $1 million bail without entering a plea at the time. Despite admitting in depositions more than a decade ago to giving Constand Benadryl pills on the night of the alleged assault in his Philadelphia-area mansion, Cosby always has insisted that the encounter was consensual.
Since the allegations against Cosby started to become a flood in mid-2015, the actor first lost his longtime Hollywood heavyweight attorney Marty Singer, who made a proxy cameo in the Norristown trial last month, in October of that year.
In July last year, Singer’s replacement and former Assistant U. S. Attorney Christopher Tayback was pink slipped after he failed to stop the criminal case from moving forward. That is when LA-based Liner LLP’s Agrusa joined the team. A month later, Washington D.C.-based attorney Monique Pressley left the defense team. A familiar presence on cable news, Pressley was in many ways the public face of Cosby’s defense – a role Wyatt took over and clearly held during the criminal trial in June.
While changes swirl on the defense team, still not word if the much criticized town hall tour Cosby plan to take this summer will actually take place. Originally characterized as revolving around how to teach young people how to avoid sexual assault charges by his PR team, Cosby said in late June that “the current propaganda that I am going to conduct a sexual assault tour is false.” The Cosby Show co-creator added, “any further information about public plans will be given at the appropriate time.”
Which may be true too of who makes up his legal team for the retrial.