Bill Cosby To Be Freed Today As Sexual Assault Conviction Overturned
Comedian Bill Cosby is set to be released from prison today, June 30, after a Pennsylvania court overturned his sexual assault conviction.
The 83-year-old, who is best known for starring in the 1980s television series The Cosby Show, was charged in 2015 after being accused of drugging and molesting an employee of Temple University at his estate in 2004.
Cosby was arrested just days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired and following a trial he was found guilty of the charges, but he has long maintained his innocence about the allegations.
Today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an opinion to vacate his conviction; a decision it reached after reviewing two aspects of the case Cosby’s lawyers had challenged, CNBC reports.
In its 79-page verdict, the court wrote: ‘Cosby’s convictions and judgment of sentence are vacated, and he is discharged.’
During its proceedings, the court reviewed a judge’s decision to let prosecutors at Cosby’s trial call five other accusers to the stand in addition to Andrea Constand, the employee who Cosby was accused of assaulting.
The trial judge originally allowed only one other accuser to give testimony at Cosby’s first trial, but when the jury came back deadlocked, the judge allowed the five other accusers to give testimony.
The second aspect of the case reviewed by the Supreme Court involved an agreement Cosby had with a former prosecutor that he would never be criminally charged.
In its verdict, the court said District Attorney Kevin Steele, who made the decision to arrest Cosby in 2015, was obligated to stand by the former district attorney’s promise not to charge Cosby.
Justice David Wecht described overturning the conviction and barring any further prosecution as ‘the only remedy that comports with society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system.’
Cosby’s release comes after he served more than two years of a three-to-10-year prison sentence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas.
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on their website or on their free helpline 0808 800 5005, open 9am–5pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 8am–8pm Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10am–2pm Saturdays.
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