Who is Tom Mesereau? Danny Masterson who pleads not guilty to 3 rape charges defended by Bill Cosby's lawyer

The Los Angeles-based attorney also defended Michael Jackson in his 2005 child molestation trial and won

                            Who is Tom Mesereau? Danny Masterson who pleads not guilty to 3 rape charges defended by Bill Cosby's lawyer
Thomas Mesereau and Danny Masterson (Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: An attorney for ‘That ’70s Show’ actor Danny Masterson pleaded not guilty on his behalf Wednesday, January 20, to the rapes of three women in the early 2000s. In June last year, Masterson was officially charged with raping three women in separate incidents.

Prosecutors have alleged that Masterson, 44, raped a 23-year-old woman sometime in 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April of 2003, and a 23-year-old woman between October and December of 2003. All of the alleged rapes happened at his Hollywood Hills home. The charges -- three counts of rape by force or fear --  were announced by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey. If convicted, Masterson faces 45 years in state prison. 

On Wednesday, the defense lawyer, Tom Mesereau, entered the plea for Masterson, who was not present in court. Mesereau said in court in June 2020 that the charges were the result of unfair hype from media outlets and political pressure to prosecute his client. The lawyer said his team would prove that Masterson is not guilty.

Actor Danny Masterson stands with his lawyer Thomas Mesereau as he is arraigned on rape charges at Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on September 18, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. Masterson has been charged with forcibly raping three women on separate occasions between 2001 and 2003. (Getty Images)

Who is Tom Mesereau?

Thomas Arthur Mesereau Jr. of the Mesereau Law Group is a Los Angeles-based attorney who has a portfolio full of celebrity clients. His website lists his “specialties” as Federal & State Criminal Trials, Complex Criminal Trials, White-Collar Criminal Trials, Non-White-Collar Criminal Trials, Grand Jury Investigations, Medical Board Trials/Hearings. It also lists a number of cases under Mesereau’s victories, which includes Michael Jackson’s 2005 child molestation trial and Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial (which is listed as “Lost, On Appeal”).

Other than that, his website also advertises wins for the 70-year-old attorney that includes a plastic surgeon sexual misconduct case and a spine surgeon’s unprofessional conduct case in front of medical boards, a football player’s rape case in a state court, and sexual assault cases for a firefighter, a swimming instructor, and a truck driver, in state courts. 

Bill Cosby (C) descends an elevator with his attorney Tom Mesereau (R) at the Montgomery County Courthouse after being found guilty on all counts in his sexual assault retrial on April 26, 2018, in Norristown, Pennsylvania. (Getty Images)

A Philadelphia Inquirer profile of the attorney noted that Mesereau "does not quite fit the stereotype of a Hollywood defense lawyer. Where other attorneys are brash, loud, or prone to courtroom theatrics, Mesereau exudes bookishness and a quietly analytic nature in court. He claims -- at least in front of the cameras -- an aversion to trying his cases in the media. And his distinctive silver-white, shoulder-length hair seems almost out of place amid the image-obsessed culture reflected in his client list."

The Cosby and Jackson cases are no doubt his most famous ones. During Cosby’s trial in 2018, he repeatedly attacked the credibility of the key prosecution witness, Andrea Constand, a Canadian massage therapist who alleged she was rendered comatose and sexually assaulted by Cosby in January 2004.

“You are going to ask yourself what did she want from Bill Cosby,” Mesereau told members of the jury, “You already know the answer: money, money, and lots more money.” He said that Constand was “a con artist. We’ll prove it. A con artist.”

Michael Jackson (C), his father Joe Jackson (L), and lawyer Thomas Mesereau, Jr. (R) leave from the Santa Barbara County courthouse court is adjourned for the day in Jackson's child molestation trial April 29, 2005, in Santa Maria, California. (Getty Images)

Masterson’s history of abuse

In 2019, a lawsuit against Masterson, the Church of Scientology, and its leader, David Miscavige, was filed for allegedly carrying out a conspiracy to cover up the star's alleged sexual misconduct and harassment. This lawsuit, in which two of the women were named and two others were addressed as Jane Does, claimed that the defendant "systemically stalked, harassed, invaded their and their family's privacy, and intentionally caused them emotional distress to silence and intimidate them."

A representative of the Church of Scientology at that time claimed that the lawsuit filed by the women was "ludicrous and a sham". Masterson also claimed innocence and denied all allegations. However, he was fired from his role in Netflix's 'The Ranch' as a result of the same.

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