Tuesday, September 18, 2018

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Law firm involved in Cosby’s defense sues comedian for delinquent bill payments

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia law firm involved in Bill Cosby’s defense is suing the 81-year-old comedian for failing to pay his legal bills.

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis claimed in a filing Tuesday in Montgomery County Court that the convicted entertainer owed more than $50,000 in unpaid legal fees. Although the firm has not yet filed a formal civil complaint — which would require it to name a more specific amount of money owed — court papers indicated an intent to do so if the matter is not resolved out of court in the next few weeks.

Schnader lawyer Samuel Silver — who also has represented former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and former Penn State president Graham B. Spanier — briefly represented Cosby in his criminal sexual-assault case after his first trial ended with a hung jury in June 2017.

Silver withdrew from the case before Cosby’s second trial. The entertainer was represented in that proceeding by attorneys Tom Mesereau, Kathleen Bliss, and Becky James, all of whom parted ways with him after his conviction on three counts of aggravated indecent assault in April.

Silver and other Schnader lawyers also have represented Cosby in various civil matters tied to the collapse of his career in a flood of allegations from more than 50 women accusing him of sexual misconduct dating back decades.

It was not clear from Tuesday’s filing whether the law firm was seeking to recoup fees for work done in advance of the criminal trial, from the civil matters, or for both. Silver did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“Mr. Cosby’s team offered to submit that dispute to mediation, but Mr. Silver’s firm decided to file suit,” Cosby lawyer Joe P. Green said in a statement. “We still hope to resolve the claim fairly.”

Cosby remains confined under court order to his Cheltenham home until his sentencing Sept. 24.

Also Tuesday, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele asked the judge overseeing the case to allow testimony at the sentencing from a number of Cosby accusers aside from Andrea Constand, the former Temple University women’s basketball employee who has said the entertainer drugged and assaulted her in 2004.

Steele did not specify in his court filing how many other accusers he hoped would testify at the sentencing or whether he would seek to present witnesses beyond the five other Cosby accusers allowed to testify at his trial this spring.

Tribune News Service

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