The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Bill Cosby’s conviction and barred him from further prosecution in a sexual assault case that led to the 83-year-old comedian’s imprisonment.
Less than two hours after the judgment, state prison officials announced that Cosby had been released.
The court ruled that Cosby was denied a fair trial during a trial that began with his arrest in 2015 and ended with a verdict in 2018.
Then the jury found him guilty of sexual assault against former basketball player Andrea Konstand during a meeting at his home in 2004.
At the heart of the criminal case were the testimony of Cosby himself, which he gave in exchange for a promise of a district verdict not to indict him. The next prosecutor considered himself not bound by this promise and charged the comedian a few days before the statute of limitations expired.
The court has now accepted the argument of Cosby’s lawyers that the prosecutor should have fulfilled the promise of his predecessor and had no right to initiate a case against their client.
Cosby has already served nearly three years of his sentence, which could have lasted from 3 to 10 years, in a prison near Philadelphia.
Who is Bill Cosby
Cosby has long been one of the most famous and highly paid American comedians.
He started with stand-up performances, but the nationwide fame and status of “America’s top dad” was brought to him by the 1980s “The Cosby Show,” in which he played the role of the father of the black Huxtable family.
When dozens of women accused the comedian of harassment during a court case launched in 2015, millions of fans were amazed and shocked.
This process was a milestone in the formation of the #MeToo movement, which initiated widespread public discussion of sexual violence, harassment and unwanted courtship – not only in the United States, but around the world.
What was the comedian tried for?
The reason for the process was the accusations of the former basketball player Andrea Konstand. At the time of their acquaintance, she was working as a mentor for the women’s basketball team at Temple University in Philadelphia, from which Cosby graduated.
According to her, they became just friends, and she herself was a lesbian. In 2004, Konstand came to visit Cosby, where she said she was a victim of sexual assault. Cosby, on the other hand, described sexual relations based on mutual consent.
She filed a lawsuit against him the year after the incident. Then the comedian paid her $ 3.4 million.
The criminal case was opened only in 2015.
A total of about 60 women at various times publicly accused Cosby of harassment, but the statute of limitations did not allow prosecutors to attach their charges to this case.