Bill Cosby Released From Prison After Sex Assault Conviction Overturned

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction, and he was released from a Pennsylvania state prison just hours later.

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections confirmed Cosby was released at around 2:30 p.m. ET, according to a tweet from the agency. Reporters on the scene said they saw the actor and comedian leave the facility and was being driven away in a white vehicle shortly afterward.

In an opinion (pdf) vacating his conviction, the Supreme Court court wrote that it found an agreement with a previous prosecutor had prevented the 83-year-old from being charged in the case.

“When an unconditional charging decision is made publicly and with the intent to induce action and reliance by the defendant, and when the defendant does so to his detriment (and in some instances upon the advice of counsel), denying the defendant the benefit of that decision is an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was foregone for more than a decade,” the high court wrote.

It concluded that “Cosby’s convictions and judgment of sentence are vacated, and he is discharged.”

Cosby was accused of drugging and assaulting Costrand, a former Temple University employee, at his home in 2004. He was charged in 2015 for the alleged attack and was arrested just a few days before the statute of limitations expired.

In 2018, a jury convicted Cosby of three aggravated indecent assault counts, and he’s been held at SCI Phoenix, a prison located near Philadelphia ever since.

But when they looked at “the likelihood of a successful prosecution of Cosby,” said the Supreme Court on Wednesday, a district attorney in 2004 and 2005 “foresaw difficulties with” Cosby accuser Andrea Constand’s “credibility as a witness based, in part, upon her decision not to file a complaint promptly.”

Bruce Castor, who was the district attorney in the 2004 case, “determined that a prosecution would be frustrated because there was no corroborating forensic evidence and because testimony from other potential claimants against Cosby likely was inadmissible under governing laws of evidence,” the Supreme Court wrote on Wednesday.

Castor ultimately concluded that unless Cosby admitted guilt, “there was insufficient credible and admissible evidence upon which any charge against Mr. Cosby related to the Constand incident could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the court noted.

The ruling bars any retrial in the case against Cosby. Two lower state courts had previously refused to overturn Cosby’s conviction.

Other than Constand, a number of women have publicly accused Cosby of assault or inappropriate behavior over the years, with some even alleging that he drugged them. Cosby has maintained his innocence.

A lawyer representing three of Cosby’s accusers objected to the court’s decision and said the actor was released over a technicality.

“He is not released because he is innocent,” attorney Lisa Bloom tweeted Wednesday. “He is released because a prosecutor promised him years ago that he would not be brought to justice, without even making a deal for him to do time.”

From The Epoch Times