Bill Cosby – ‘America’s dad’ – freed after court overturns sex assault conviction

Pennsylvania Supreme Court says comedian should never have faced charges after striking a non-prosecution deal with a previous district attorney more than 15 years ago

Cosby’s arrest was one of the major examples of powerful, corrupted men being taken down by the #MeToo movement

Bill Cosby, the infamous comedian who was imprisoned under multiple charges of sexual assault, was freed from jail on June 30. ‘America’s dad’ walked free less than two hours after Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his sexual assault conviction, saying he should never have faced charges after striking a non-prosecution deal with a previous district attorney more than 15 years ago.

The court issued its split decision after Cosby had served more than two years of a three-to-10-year sentence following his 2018 conviction. The 83-year-old comedian-actor was released from state prison in Skippack, Pennsylvania, at around 2.30pm IST (18:30 GMT), according to a corrections department spokesperson.

After Cosby’s release, Montgomery County district attorney Kevin Steele, who filed the charges against Cosby in 2015, issued a statement saying that Pennsylvania SC’s decision was not based on the facts of the case.

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“My hope is that this decision will not dampen the reporting of sexual victims. We still believe that no one is above the law — including those who are rich, famous and powerful,” said Steele.

Cosby’s arrest was one of the major examples of powerful, corrupted men being taken down by the #MeToo movement. He was arrested in 2015 and convicted in 2018 of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand, a Temple University employee, at his suburban estate in 2004.

Constand tweeted a statement saying, “Today’s majority decision regarding Bill Cosby is not only disappointing but of concern in that it may discourage those who seek justice for sexual assault in the criminal justice system…”

Also read: Bill Cosby appeal will test scope of #MeToo prosecutions

Director Amber Tamblyn tweeted, “I am furious to hear this news. I personally know women who this man drugged and raped while unconscious. Shame on the court and this decision.”

American journalist, E Jean Carroll, tweeted saying that Cosby’s release is why women do not come forward.

The Pennsylvania SC’s decision has come under fire since more than 50 women had come forward as victims of Cosby. After Cosby’s imprisonment, various comedians had come forward on podcasts talking about how this was a known secret in the comedy world for decades.

 

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