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Pennsylvania

Second Cosby lawyer quits as November retrial looms

| Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, 11:15 p.m.
In this June 17, 2017, file photo, Bill Cosby exits the Montgomery County Courthouse after a mistrial was declared in Norristown, Pa.
In this June 17, 2017, file photo, Bill Cosby exits the Montgomery County Courthouse after a mistrial was declared in Norristown, Pa.

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - A second member of Bill Cosby's defense team bailed on his sexual assault case Tuesday, prompting the 80-year-old entertainer to ask a Montgomery County judge for more time to find new attorneys.

In court papers, Angela Agrusa - a Los Angeles-based entertainment lawyer who sat by Cosby's side during his trial earlier this summer - asked Judge Steven T. O'Neill for permission to withdraw from the case before the retrial Nov. 6.

Cosby “continues to take necessary steps to secure new counsel,” she wrote. “However, given factors outside of ⅛his⅜ control . ⅛he⅜ requires brief additional time to finally secure his representation.”

Her bid to leave the case before its second go-round in court comes two weeks after Cosby's lead defense attorney, Brian J. McMonagle of Philadelphia, also asked to bow out.

O'Neill had previously set a Tuesday hearing to discuss who would represent Cosby after his first trial ended in a deadlocked jury and mistrial in June. Agrusa sought Tuesday to push that hearing back to Sept. 11 - a request Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele opposed, saying in a filing of his own that it would “delay the timely administration of justice” in the case.

Should O'Neill accept Agrusa's request to withdraw, it would leave less than two months for new lawyers to prepare for Cosby's retrial under the schedule the court has currently put in place. Her court filings made no mention of seeking to postpone Cosby's retrial date.

At the time McMonagle withdrew, Cosby's spokesman Andrew Wyatt said Agrusa would remain on the defense team through the second trial. He declined to comment Tuesday on her departure from the criminal case but said that she would remain a part of the team of lawyers defending Cosby in a number of defamation cases filed by women who have accused the entertainer of sexual assault in the past.

Wyatt, who has said he is vetting new criminal lawyers for the entertainer, also said in an email Tuesday that he planned to announce the results of that search at the end of the month.

Agrusa did not immediately return requests for comment.

In the criminal case, Cosby is accused of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, the former operations manager of Temple University's women's basketball team, as she visited his Cheltenham mansion in 2004.

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