Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Who's defending Bill Cosby? A look at his criminal team

18 January 2016, 21:44

Philadelphia - At his only criminal court appearance to date, aging TV icon Bill Cosby stumbled past a scrum of photographers while two lawyers held him up on either side, walking him into a suburban Philadelphia courtroom.

The attorneys hired to defend Cosby in the sex-assault case are a study in contrasts:

Outsider Monique Pressley, a lawyer-turned-TV legal analyst with side jobs as a pastor, motivational speaker and radio host, who got a taste of the limelight as a law student, posing a question about race in the O.J. Simpson trial on CNN's Larry King Live.

Insider Brian McMonagle, a revered local criminal lawyer whose past clients include mobsters, rappers, athletes and, in a case with some parallels to Cosby's the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia during the searing priest-pedophile scandal.

Also read: Calls for boycott of Oscars grow over diversity of nominees

"He takes a very, very aggressive posture, but does it in a diplomatic and smooth fashion. It's almost like an iron fist in a velvet glove. He is a strong advocate for his client, but can break tension with a quip or a joke," said fellow Philadelphia criminal lawyer William J. Brennan. "Mr. Cosby is lucky to have him."

McMonagle, 57, is expected to lead the defense arguments inside the courtroom when Cosby, 78, returns to court Feb. 2 in a crucial bid to have the case dismissed. He will attack the 12-year delay to file charges, the use of Cosby's deposition from accuser Andrea Constand's civil case, and the government's plan to call other accusers to show a pattern of behavior.

But Pressley will be the lawyer people see on TV in their living rooms.

Pressley, 45, was plucked from relative obscurity to lead the sprawling flock of lawyers Cosby has deployed to fight sex-assault and defamation battles in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and California, involving some of the dozens of women who accuse him of drugging and molesting them. After stints as both a prosecutor and public defender in Washington, D.C., she was doing TV commentary on the case when she impressed someone in the Cosby camp last fall.

"She's got his confidence," said celebrity defense lawyer Mark Geragos. "Obviously, you can't diminish the fact that you would want a female on the defense team. You're going to have female after female coming up and accusing him. ... And race is always a subtext in the criminal justice system."

Pressley, who is black, could boost Cosby's battered standing in the black community. McMonagle, who is white, may play to jurors in mostly white Montgomery County.

Pressley has taken to the airwaves to blast accusers who come forward decades later to "persecute" someone. And she dismissed an FBI study that found only a tiny fraction of rape accusations are proved false.

"How many people of influence and means have been the victims of extortion attempts? How many women — and men — have been willing to offer up their bodies on a casting couch?" she asked in a Huffington Post Live interview that earned raves for her poise under fire.

Constand, now 42, went to police in 2005 to report that Cosby had drugged and violated her a year earlier at his home near Philadelphia. Cosby called the contact consensual.

McMonagle will argue that a former prosecutor forged a deal that Cosby would never be prosecuted and could therefore testify, without invoking his right not to incriminate himself, in Constand's later civil suit. In the deposition, unsealed last year, Cosby detailed his romantic interest in Constand, who is gay; his pursuit of other young women during his long marriage; and his use of quaaludes in the 1970s as a seduction tool. He settled with Constand soon afterward.

Incoming District Attorney Kevin Steele pondered that testimony, along with the dozens of new accusers, and decided to charge Cosby weeks before the 12-year deadline expired this month. He has said there is no evidence that Cosby had an immunity deal with former prosecutor Bruce Castor.

McMonagle has pulled off wins in cases no less difficult.

He unearthed a lab error in a drug-linked date rape case involving a local GOP official; helped persuade authorities not to charge future NBA standout Tyreke Evans as an accessory in a fatal 2007 shooting; and helped Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua avoid testifying in open court in the priest sex-abuse case.

The elderly Bevilacqua died before a loyal aide was convicted in 2012 of keeping the church's sordid secrets under lock and key. Monsignor William Lynn has spent two years in prison while appeals courts debate the fairness of the trial, including the testimony of 21 church accusers his lawyers calls peripheral to the case.

McMonagle and Pressley will likewise press to keep other Cosby accusers from testifying. McMonagle declined to comment for this article, while Pressley did not return messages seeking comment.

"Anybody who thinks that you can just ignore the media, it's kind of a quaint thought," Geragos said of Cosby's two-prong legal strategy. "There's a trial inside the courtroom, but you don't want to be in a position where you can't find a jury willing to acquit him."

- AP


Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...