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Bill Cosby gets new lawyers for retrial next spring

Story highlights
  • Attorney who successfully defended Michael Jackson among new lawyers
  • The retrial of comedian's assault case will be next spring

(CNN) Bill Cosby added a new team of lawyers, including the attorney who successfully defended Michael Jackson, for his upcoming assault retrial set for next spring.

A Pennsylvania judge granted the motion for Cosby's previous defense counsel to withdraw from his team Tuesday. Cosby will now be defended by three new attorneys: Tom Mesereau, Kathleen Bliss and Sam Silver.

Mesereau is best known for his successful defense of Jackson, the famed pop singer, against child molestation charges in 2005.

Cosby's trial on three counts of aggravated indecent assault ended in a mistrial in June as jurors said they were deadlocked and could not come to a unanimous decision.

The case centers on testimony from Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee who accuses Cosby of drugging and assaulting her in January 2004. Cosby's attorneys argued that the sexual contact was consensual.

The retrial will take place sometime between March 15 and April 1, Judge Steven O'Neill ruled. The retrial had previously been set for November, but O'Neill delayed the start so Cosby's new legal team could prepare for the case.

"To ask someone to review the 20 months of this case, transcripts, exhibits, it just cannot be done," O'Neill said. "Accordingly, the trial will be continued."

The trial will take place in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and will feature jurors chosen from the area. At the earlier trial, jurors were bused in from Allegheny County.

Before the start of Tuesday's court hearing, Cosby's current and former legal teams exchanged pleasantries. The judge also had kind words for Cosby's former legal team of Brian McMonagle and Angela Agrusa.

"This was a unique and extraordinary case," he said, and praised the "two members of the bar who have shown extraordinary adherence to the law. You had the utmost respect for the process.

"I feel privileged to have been able to preside over a trial where these two advocates worked," O'Neill said. "I say thank you."