A shocking reversal. Bill Cosby is has been released from prison after his sexual assault conviction was overturned.
Us Weekly confirmed on Wednesday, June 30, that the Pennsylvania high court found an agreement with a previous prosecutor that prevented Cosby, 83, from being charged, which meant the actor was released from the state prison where he served two years of his three to 10-year sentence.
In 2005, Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor determined that Cosby couldn’t be prosecuted due to what he perceived as a lack of credibility on Andrea Constand‘s part, partially attributing that judgement to her decision not to file a complaint right away.
Instead, Constand went through with a civil case against Cosby. In the civil case, Cosby had to forfeit his right to the Fifth Amendment, the right to remain silent, and made four depositions.
Those depositions from the civil case, in which he made incriminating statements, were used in the 2015 criminal case that found him guilty of drugging and molesting Constand. The former Cosby Show star was arrested after newly unsealed evidence led to his arrest just 12 days before the statute of limitations was set to expire.
“Unable to invoke any right not to testify in the civil proceedings, Cosby relied upon the district attorney’s declination and proceeded to provide four sworn depositions. During those depositions, Cosby made several incriminating statements,” the court’s decision notes.
“D.A. Castor’s successors did not feel bound by his decision, and decided to prosecute Cosby notwithstanding that prior undertaking. The fruits of Cosby’s reliance upon D.A. Castor’s decision Cosby’s sworn inculpatory testimony were then used by D.A. Castor’s successors against Cosby at Cosby’s criminal trial. We granted allowance of appeal to determine whether D.A. Castor’s decision not to prosecute Cosby in exchange for his testimony must be enforced against the Commonwealth.”
“We have always believed that Mr. Cosby was not treated fairly,” his attorney Brian Perry said in a statement to Us Weekly. “And based on how the arguments went with the Supreme Court, there was no question in our minds that conviction was going to be reversed. Fortunately, we were right. And in essence what the court ruled, was that he shouldn’t have been prosecuted to begin with because the previous district attorney, Bruce Castor, agreed not to prosecute them and Mr. Cosby relied on that in the civil depositions.”
Cosby was accused of assault by more than 60 women, and five of them, including model Janice Dickinson, testified to support Constand’s claims with their own similar stories. Perry added that while “they never got to the second issue that we raised, which was whether the other five women should have been allowed to testify,” this decision seemingly closes the case for good.
“Basically what they said is it just wasn’t fair and the system has to be fair,” the attorney explained. “So, keep in mind, it wasn’t reversed. It was vacated and he was discharged, which means case closed.”
The apparent end of Cosby’s legal saga comes six years after his initial arrest and two trials. The first time the case was presented to a jury in 2017 ended in a mistrial, so Cosby wasn’t convicted until a second trial in April 2018. Seven men and five women on the jury deliberated for 14 hours before announcing the guilty verdict after which the comic was immediately taken to prison.
Perry added that he’s feeling “on top of the world” after the decision. “We put together an amazing team, and, you know, we always believed that this is how it would end,” he told Us.
Reporting by Marjorie Hernandez