Bill Cosby hires Michael Jackson lawyer for sex assault retrial

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Bill Cosby was due back in court on Tuesday to seek a judge's approval to have a lawyer who successfully defended the late singer Michael Jackson against child molestation charges represent the comedian at his sex assault retrial – Aug 22, 2017

Bill Cosby has hired Michael Jackson’s former lawyer to represent him at his November retrial on sexual assault charges in Pennsylvania.

Cosby’s spokesman announced Monday that the 80-year-old comedian is bringing in Tom Mesereau to lead a retooled defence team. Lawyers from the first trial in June had said they wanted off the case.

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READ MORE: Second Bill Cosby lawyer withdraws from sexual assault retrial

Mesereau won an acquittal in Jackson’s 2004 child molestation trial. He has also represented boxer Mike Tyson, actor Robert Blake and rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight.

Mesereau will be joined by Sam Silver, who represented now-imprisoned former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania in a corruption case, and former federal prosecutor Kathleen Bliss.

Cosby is being retried on charges he drugged and molested Toronto woman Andrea Constand more than a decade ago. The original trial ended in a deadlocked jury, and Cosby claims any sexual activity between himself and Constand was consensual.

READ MORE: Cosby mistrial resulted from 2 holdouts who were ‘not moving, no matter what’, juror says

The deadlock was a victory of sorts for the pioneering black comedian, now frail and isolated, who risked spending the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

But the trial has irrevocably damaged the once-towering icon of popular culture, loved by millions as “America’s Dad” and best known for his seminal role as a father and obstetrician on hit 1984-92 TV series The Cosby Show.

More than 60 women have publicly accused Cosby of being a serial sexual predator, but the trial was the only criminal case brought against Cosby, since most of the alleged abuse happened too long ago to prosecute.

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—With files from Chris Jancelewicz