Bill Cosby’s sex assault conviction was overturned by Pennsylvania’s highest court today (June 30) after finding an agreement with a previous prosecutor prevented him from being charged in the case.
Cosby has served more than two years of a 3 to 10-year sentence at a state prison near Philadelphia, USA Today reports. He vowed to serve all 10 years rather than acknowledge any remorse over the 2004 encounter with accuser Andrea Constand.
83-year-old Cosby, who was once dubbed “America’s Dad,” was convicted of drugging and molesting the Temple University employee at his suburban estate. He was charged in late 2015 when a prosecutor armed with newly unsealed evidence — Cosby’s damaging deposition from her lawsuit — arrested him days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired.
Per USA Today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that testimony tainted the trial, even though a lower appeals court found it relevant to show a signature pattern of drugging and molesting women. Prosecutors did not immediately say if they would appeal or seek to try Cosby for a third time.
Jennifer Bonjean, one of Cosby’s appellate lawyers, said prosecutors put on vague evidence about the uncharged conduct, including Cosby’s own recollections in his deposition about giving women alcohol or quaaludes before sexual encounters.
“The presumption of innocence just didn’t exist for him,” Bonjean argued to the court in December.
In May, Cosby was denied parole after refusing to participate in sex offender programs during his nearly three years in state prison. He has long said he would resist the treatment programs and refuse to acknowledge wrongdoing even if it means serving the full 10-year sentence.
Cosby spokesperson Andrew Wyatt called the parole board decision “appalling.”
Today Show‘s Craig Melvin tweeted, “A source says Bill Cosby will be out of prison in hours. Conviction has been vacated.”
A source says Bill Cosby will be out of prison in hours. Conviction has been vacated.— Craig Melvin (@craigmelvin) June 30, 2021