Tom Mesereau: Facts to Know about Bill Cosby’s New Lawyer

Last spring, legal drama unfolded as a jury could not agree on whether or not Bill Cosby drugged and molested Andrea Constand in 2004. With his second trial on sexual assault charges coming up, things are expected to go much differently. One of these changes is the introduction of high-profile Los Angeles attorney Tom Mesereau. Our Tom Mesereau wiki will detail a history of his work and accomplishments.

Bill Cosby’s second sexual assault trial, set to get rolling this April with jury selection, is expected to see a defense led by lawyer Tom Mesereau. Dozens of women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct going back decades. Cosby strongly denied these allegations, and this Tom Mesereau wiki will profile the man trying to clear Cosby’s name.

For the upcoming trial, instead of allowing two women to testify against Cosby, the judge ruled that prosecutors can call five more accusers to the stand. These five women can be picked from a group of eight whose allegations stem from 1982 to 1996.

Cosby will need the best defense possible to go up against these women, and he chose Mesereau to get the job done.

Career Highlights and Awards

Who is Mesereau? According to his official biography, Mesereau, 67, is a trial lawyer who has been highly successful in high-stakes criminal and medical board trials. He worked complex white-collar cases in federal court, homicide cases in state court, and more, taking risks and making unpredictable moves.

Tom Mesereau with Michael Jackson

Photo: Facebook/Mesereaulaw

He is best known for helping to acquit the late Michael Jackson in a 2005 California trial on charges of child molestation. With Mesereau on his defense team, Jackson was acquitted of all 14 charges.

Mesereau has more than the Jackson trial to boast about. He appeared on the cover of the Premiere 2015 edition of Attorney at Law Magazine, and was named the “Trial Lawyer of the Year for 2015” by the National Trial Lawyers.

His website includes a lengthy section on four federal white-collar criminal jury trials that he won back-to-back. These cases involved conspiracy, money laundering, health care fraud, bank fraud, mortgage fraud, loan fraud, wire fraud, false statements to banks, and more.

He also won a complete acquittal in a Birmingham, Alabama murder trial in September 2016.

The lawyer also worked with Mike Tyson, his first celebrity client. He defended the former world heavyweight boxing champion during a 2001  rape investigation. Mesereau persuaded prosecutors not to file charges.

His list of clients also includes Robert Blake, Joe Babajian, Claudia Haro, Suge Knight, and now Cosby.

Education, Pro Bono Work, and Benevolence

Mesereau attended St. Cecilia’s Grammar School, Loyola School, Bergen Catholic High School, and Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.

He graduated with honors from Harvard University, and earned a Master of Science from the London School of Economics. He went on to earn his law degree from the University of California’s Hastings College of Law.

After his studies, he worked as a litigation associate at Hunton & Williams, a national civil litigation law firm. He then served as assistant to the president of the Getty Oil Company, focusing on business, administrative, and legal matters. He eventually entered private law practice after working as a state prosecutor in southern California.

Before law and graduate schools, he worked as a legislative assistant and speechwriter to a United States congressman from New York. Following this, he worked as a specialist on energy legislation for the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Mesereau’s life also involves humanitarian efforts, and he is an advocate of pro bono legal services. He founded and co-manages the Mesereau Free Legal Clinic in Los Angeles, where law students, lawyers, college students, and concerned citizens meet twice a month to help the poor. At this legal clinic, he accepts one capital murder case annually to defend a member of the Deep South who is unable to afford representation.

He also participates in annual marches with the Women of Watts and their children to take a stand against gang violence. A scholarship for homeless children has been named after him. He assists several organizations that deal with children’s causes, women recovering from drug abuse, and issues that concern black men in the justice system.

Personal Life

Mesereau was born on July 1, 1950 in West Point, New York, but he grew up in New York City and Englewood, New Jersey. He has Italian, Irish, and French-American roots.

His Irish background is from his two grandmothers, Mary Sullivan and Rose Cullen. Eugene Leone, his maternal grandfather, emigrated from Italy and arrived at Ellis Island. He worked as the owner and operator of the renowned Mama Leone’s Restaurant in Times Square. Mesereau’s paternal grandfather, Arthur, he was French-American.

His father was in the military and an all-American football player. Like Mesereau, he was assertive —a quality that makes him a convincing lawyer, whatever his case may be.

In an interview, Mesereau said his father’s compassion, humanity, honor, and principled life had a big influence on him. His father fought for the underdog and hated arrogance and snobbery. Courage and sacrifice were other qualities he admired in his father, and the old man can be credited with stoking Mesereau’s interest in equality and justice.


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