Bill Cosby Released From Prison After Pennsylvania Court Overturns Sexual Assault Conviction

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said they found that an agreement with a prior prosecutor prevented charging in this case. Per the Associated Press, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court argued testimony from additional accusers in Cosby’s retrial had “tainted” the proceedings, even though a lower court had found the added testimony to be appropriate in showing a pattern of assault.

Cosby, 83, has been behind bars for a little over two years in a state prison near Philadelphia. He was convicted of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, who was working for Temple University’s women’s basketball team at the time of the 2004 assault. The three resulting charges for which Cosby was later found guilty were handed down in late 2015. Cosby was ultimately charged mere days before the statute of limitations ran out, with excerpts from a civil case deposition being used against the disgraced comedian during trial.

While some reports on Wednesday posited the conviction’s overturning was due to a technicality, others—including legal analyst and criminal defense lawyer Rebecca Kavanagh—quickly clarified that the conviction was actually overturned due to errors made by prosecutors. Notably, Wednesday’s news also does not mean Cosby has been deemed innocent by the court.

In deposition excerpts from Constand’s first complaint, as was widely reported in 2015, Cosby admitted to drugging women with whom he wanted to have sex.

As of September 2018, the same month that Cosby was sentenced to prison, he had been accused by at least 60 women of sexual assault and harassment spanning decades.

In May, Cosby’s petition for parole was denied. The parole board’s decision to decline Cosby’s request, per a USA Today report at the time, was partially inspired by his refusal to participate in treatment programs for sex offenders and violence prevention.

To read Wednesday’s full decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, click here

On Wednesday afternoon, Phylicia Rashad—who played Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show—reacted to the news by purporting a “miscarriage of justice” had been “corrected.”

By Wednesday afternoon, Cosby had been confirmed to have been released from prison. 


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