NEW YORK: Disgraced US entertainer Bill Cosby is being forced to hire a new legal team after a second top-flight attorney withdrew from his upcoming re-trial for sexual assault.
After Brian McMonagle quit earlier this month, his California-based co-counsel Angela Agrusa has also filed a motion asking to be taking off the trial. The pair helped Cosby secure a hung jury on trial for sexual assault in June.
Cosby's team have been left scouring for replacements and have petitioned the Pennsylvania judge presiding over the case to defer an Aug 22 hearing until at least Sep 11 to "finally secure his representation."
A spokesman on Wednesday (Aug 16) confirmed that Cosby, 80, was currently without legal representation for his criminal proceedings, but said Agrusa would remain his civil attorney.
The pioneering African American actor and comedian is due to go back on trial in November for allegedly drugging and molesting a former university basketball official at his Philadelphia home in 2004.
Judge Steven O'Neill declared a mistrial in June when a jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict on three counts of aggravated indecent assault after more than 50 hours of deliberations in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
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 irrevocably damaged the once towering icon of US 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."
Around 60 women have publicly accused the Emmy-winning actor of being a serial sexual predator, but the trial was the only criminal case brought against Cosby as most of the alleged abuse happened too long ago to prosecute.