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Bill Cosby freed from prison after court overturned his sexual assault conviction

Bill Cosby walks out to the media outside of his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania home Wednesday after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his sexual assault conviction. Photograph: Jim Z Rider/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock


Bill Cosby freed from prison after court overturned his sexual assault conviction


Bill Cosby was freed from jail on Wednesday when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed his sexual assault conviction, citing a violation of the disgraced actor’s due process rights.

As he walked into his suburban Philadelphia home after serving almost three years of a three- to 10-year sentence for drugging and assaulting Temple University athletics administrator Andrea Constand in 2004, Cosby, 83, flashed the V-for-victory sign to a helicopter above.

According to the court, a prosecutor’s decision not to prosecute Cosby in a previous case allowed him to talk freely in a lawsuit against him, believing that he would not incriminate himself legally. The civil evidence was subsequently utilized in a criminal prosecution by a second prosecutor, and that testimony was crucial in his conviction years later.

Cosby appeared briefly outside his Pennsylvania home in a white T-shirt but did not speak to reporters.

Jennifer Bonjean, a Cosby attorney who appeared with Cosby and other attorneys, said, “He is extremely happy to be home. This has been a hard three years for this entire family. It’s really a blessing for him. He says his heart is beating really fast.”

She went on to say, “He served three years of an unjust sentence and he did it with dignity and principle.”


In a statement issued by Cosby’s press agent, Andrew Wyatt, the family wrote, “I want to thank the Supreme Court who saw the light and saw the truth.”

The decision was a “slap in the face” for victims who had hoped for closure in the case’s resolution, according to Lisa Bloom, the attorney for three accusers.

Constand and her attorneys expressed disappointment with the decision in a statement, and they, like many other advocates, voiced concern that it may deter sexual assault victims from coming forward. They went on to say, “We urge all victims to have their voices heard.”

Bloom believes it will be a “very difficult day” for all of the women who have accused him of sexual assault.

Victoria Valentino, one of the accusers, issued a statement saying, “I am outraged! Outraged! Stunned! My stomach is in knots. The work that we have done to uplift women has been overturned by a legal glitch. We now have a serial predator on the street.”

The reversal of Cosby’s conviction on technical grounds, according to Gloria Allred, who represented additional victims, did not vindicate him.

Cosby cannot be tried again on the same allegations, according to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

According to the high court opinion authored by Justice David Wecht, “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.”

“For these reasons, Cosby’s convictions and judgment of sentence are vacated, and he is discharged.”

According to a letter acquired by CNN, Cosby was denied release in May by the Pennsylvania Parole Board, which listed a variety of grounds for its decision.

Cosby was required to “participate in and complete additional institutional programs,” according to the letter. Cosby’s “failure to develop a parole release plan” and a “negative recommendation by the Department of Corrections” were mentioned by the board as reasons in its decision.

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