Cosby lawyer employs tough cross-examinations, dramatic style


NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Reuters) – Defense attorney Brian McMonagle’s arguably biggest courtroom drama, the sex assault trial of entertainer Bill Cosby, has been a legal rematch with prosecutor Kevin Steele, who was on the opposing – and losing – side of a nearly identical 2014 rape case.

In the Cosby trial, McMonagle, 58, wielded his signature defense style, aggressive cross-examinations and a theatrical closing argument, to make his case while calling just one witness on Monday.

A veteran of the Philadelphia legal scene, he made his name in the district attorney’s office prosecuting high-profile murder cases before moving into private practice in the early 1990s. McMonagle, who went to Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, has won hundreds of acquittals defending mobsters, rappers and athletes.

People familiar with McMonagle’s past work said he was a natural choice to defend Cosby, 79, in state court in Norristown, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb.

Christopher Hall, a former federal prosecutor in the Philadelphia, said McMonagle was well known for his skill at cross-examination.

“It requires tremendous concentration and command of the facts, and the ability to synthesize that in real time,” Hall said.

“There’s also an element of affability. I call it emotional intelligence. Brian has that emotional intelligence.”

For Steele, the Montgomery County district attorney, McMonagle’s most rattling win may have been […]


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