1:24pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Bill Cosby Replaces Legal Team as He Awaits Sentencing
Bill Cosby has fired Tom Mesereau, the star lawyer who represented him during a criminal trial in April. The 80-year-old comedian, who is still awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of sexual assault, has now hired Joseph P. Green Jr., according to Cosby's publicist.
At the trial, the Pennsylvania jury held Cosby responsible for raping Andrea Constand in 2004. Prosecutors won on all three counts of sexual assault, and each carries a prison term of up to 10 years, although the judge could impose the sentencing time concurrently.
Cosby is currently free on bail. Once sentenced, he could be taken into custody and sent to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility while the appellate process plays out.
On appeal, Cosby will likely argue his due process rights were violated after the long delay in charging him and after the former district attorney allegedly gave assurances he wouldn't be charged, which led to a deposition in a civil case that was later used during the criminal trial. He will also likely make an issue of how the trial judge allowed testimony from other women who alleged Cosby drugged and raped them as well.
It's not uncommon for defendants to replace lawyers after conviction as inadequate counsel is often argued as grounds for vacating. Before representing Cosby, Mesereau handled criminal cases for many celebrities including Michael Jackson and Robert Blake.