Bill Cosby released from prison after sex assault conviction against Andrea Constand overturned after Pennsylvnia Supreme Court rules a former prosecution deal to shield from prosecution in turn for testimony at a civil lawsuit had to be honored.
He is now a free man. Bill Cosby had his sexual assault conviction thrown out Wednesday after Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court found that a 2005 promise by a prosecutor that he wouldn’t charge him gave the ‘funny man’ false sense of security and led him to incriminate himself.
Cosby was jailed in 2018 for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004.
Constand had gone to the police in 2005 but the then Montgomery County DA Bruce Castor said publicly he was not going to pursue charges.
The following year, Constand sued Cosby and in a civil deposition, he admitted using Quaaludes on women without their consent and said he did it to have sex with them.
At the time, Cosby who had sought to avoid testifying at a civil suit Constand brought against him, was forced to testify after it was ascertained defendants could only refuse to testify when faced with criminal prosecution. Believing he would not be open to criminal proceedings, Cosby and his legal team relented and took part in the civil suit against him.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 30, 2021
Free on a technical legal glitch
In 2015, a new Montgomery County DA charged him, using the remarks he made in the 2005 deposition as part of the evidence against him.
Over the ten years since Constand came forward in 2005, multiple women made claims against Cosby publicly and with the police — further entrenching him in legal woes before finally copping a ten year conviction in 2018.
Cosby, 83, come Wednesday afternoon was photographed walking out of a Philadelphia-area prison a free man after serving more than two years of a three- to 10-year jail sentence.
In its 79-page ruling, the State Supreme court found that an agreement with then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor Jr. prevented Cosby from being charged for allegedly drugging and molesting Andrea Constand in 2004.
Constand first reported the alleged encounter in 2015 to Castor, who decided not to pursue charges in the case.
There was no evidence that the deal — which opened the door for Cosby to testify in Constand’s civil suit — was ever put in writing. That damning testimony was used, in part, to help convict Cosby.
In 2019, Castor’s successor, Kevin Steele, opted to file charges against Cosby — just days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired.
Rapist Bill Cosby is being released from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said they had to uphold a former prosecutor’s promise not to charge him, and that the testimonies of other accusers tainted the jury pool… Btw, the former prosecutor was Trump’s defense lawyer.
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) June 30, 2021
Later during the criminal proceedings, the judge agreed to allow testimony from Cosby’s deposition — which included him admitting to using quaaludes during consensual sexual encounters with women in the 1970s — to be used against him.
Following his 2018 conviction, Cosby appealed, claiming an unfair prosecution in the first place and that he also didn’t get a chance at a fair trial because the judge allowed five women to testify as ‘bad act’ witnesses. Their allegations weren’t being prosecuted, but they all told stories of how he’d allegedly assaulted them. Cosby claimed that it led the jury to find him guilty of assaulting Constand unfairly, and that if the jury hadn’t heard from the other women, they wouldn’t have convicted on the evidence alone.
In their decision, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court did not rule on whether or not the five other women’s testimony was fair. Instead the state’s highest court vacated the ruling solely on the basis of a promise that a former prosecutor had made with Cosby not to charge the comedian.
‘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 ruling stated.
‘For these reasons, Cosby’s convictions and judgment of sentence are vacated, and he is discharged.’
In addition to overturning the conviction, the court barred any retrials in the case saying it’s ‘the only remedy that comports with society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system.’
The 3 Bill Cosby accusers I represent and I are disgusted that he is a free man today.
He is not released because he is innocent.
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.
— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) June 30, 2021
‘Released not because he is innocent’
State corrections officials said Wednesday that the necessary paperwork for Cosby’s release was being processed, NBC News reported.
‘The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is in receipt of today’s court decision,’ a spokesperson told NBC News. ‘Work is underway to complete the necessary paperwork, and Mr. Cosby will be released as soon as practical.’
Cosby, once known as ‘America’s Dad,’ was convicted in 2018 at a retrial that allowed five other accusers to testify about their experiences with the comedian in the 80s.
His first trial had ended with a deadlocked jury after only one other accuser was allowed to testify against him.
Cosby has refused to offer any remorse over the encounter with Constand, a Temple University employee — vowing to rather serve all 10 years of the sentence.