Bill Cosby has replaced the law firm overseeing civil litigation around the country linked to accusations he drugged and molested women.
Liner LLP, known for its work in entertainment law, is replacing lawyers with the powerhouse litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt confirmed Monday. Both firms are based in Los Angeles.
Litigation department chairwoman Angela Agrusa will now represent Cosby in the defamation and sex-assault lawsuits. Several women have sued Cosby for branding them liars in lawsuits filed in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and California. Cosby has countersued some of them.
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Agrusa, in a statement, said she did not want to try the cases in the media. She said Cosby "deserve(s) representation to ensure that justice does not yield to news cycles and soundbites."
"Trying Mr. Cosby in a court of public opinion — as imbalanced media coverage promotes — runs directly counter to our judicial system's most fundamental guarantees of fairness under the law," she said.
The Liner firm currently represents singer Blake Shelton in a defamation case against a celebrity magazine. The firm also defended the doctor charged with overprescribing painkillers to the late model Anna Nicole Smith.
Quinn Emanuel may stay involved in the criminal sex-assault case heading to trial in suburban Philadelphia, Wyatt said. The firm's Christopher Tayback last week argued for the charges to be dismissed or for Cosby to be granted a new preliminary hearing to weigh the evidence. The trial judge denied the motion.
Cosby, 78, has been spending millions in an aggressive bid to stay out of prison, salvage his reputation and avoid legal judgments that could threaten his fortune.
AP Entertainment Reporter Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.