Cosby’s Lead Attorney Moves to Quit Ahead of Retrial

In this combination of file photos, entertainer Bill Cosby pauses during an interview in Washington on Nov. 6, 2014, and Andrea Constand poses for a photo in Toronto on Aug. 1, 1987. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, left, and Ron Bull/Toronto Star/The Canadian Press via AP, right)

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CN) – Brian McMonagle, notable Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer and former lead attorney representing comedian Bill Cosby in his sexual assault trial, asked a Pennsylvania judge this week to let him step down from representing Cosby in his November retrial.

McMonagle, a partner at the Law Offices of McMonagle, Perri, McHugh & Mischak in Philadelphia, filed paperwork Tuesday afternoon in Montgomery County to remove himself as legal counsel.

His motion to withdraw does not include a specific reason for wanting to back out of the case.

Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven O’Neill Jr. set an Aug. 22 hearing to address the motion and a venue for the retrial.

In June, a jury deadlocked on whether Cosby, 80, intentionally incapacitated Andrea Constand, a woman he had sex with in 2004, leading Judge O’Neill to declare a mistrial.

The retrial is schedule for Nov 6. and Cosby will now have new counsel.

Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, confirmed that McMonagle was no longer working on Cosby’s team.

“It’s true and we’re still vetting lawyers that are on my short list,” Wyatt told USA TODAY on Tuesday. “That person will be named later in the month.”

Cosby faces 10 years in prison if convicted on three counts of aggravated sexual assault accusing him of drugging and molesting Constand, a former Temple University employee, when he was a trustee and she was director of operations for the women’s basketball team.

In 2004, Constand claims that Cosby incapacitated her at his house in Cheltenham, a suburb of Philadelphia, and then had sex with her when she could not consent.

Thirty five years younger than the comedian, Constand testified in the June trial that she had come to see Cosby as a mentor and father figure, unaware that the attention he paid her was romantic.

Constand, who is a lesbian, reported Cosby to the police in 2005, about a year after the alleged assault, but prosecutors initially found the case too weak to prosecute. However, Constand won an undisclosed settlement in 2006.

In light of the recent criminal charges, dozens of women have come forward about alleged nonconsensual sexual encounters with Cosby dating back to the 1970s, but Constand is the only accuser not barred by the statute of limitations.

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