Actor and comedian Bill Cosby was released from prison on Wednesday after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his sentence regarding sexual assault.
Cosby, 83, “had been found guilty of drugging and molesting ex-basketball player Andrea Constand in 2004,” according to the BBC. He has been in state prison for more than two years of an up to 10-year sentence.
“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, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was foregone for more than a decade,” the high court ruled, according to NBC News.
“For these reasons, Cosby’s convictions and judgment of sentence are vacated, and he is discharged,” the court added.
The Associated Press reported, “He was the first celebrity tried and convicted in the #MeToo era.”
It added, “But the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that District Attorney Kevin Steele, who made the decision to arrest Cosby, was obligated to stand by his predecessor’s promise not to charge Cosby. There was no evidence that promise was ever put in writing.”
Bill Cosby’s case was one of the first high-profile sexual assault trials to unfold in the aftermath of #MeToo, and many considered his conviction a sign that going forward, women’s experiences could be afforded greater weight and credibility by jurors. https://t.co/UyDpqZEeWm pic.twitter.com/BnXloYMpES
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 30, 2021
The New York Times tweeted, “Bill Cosby’s case was one of the first high-profile sexual assault trials to unfold in the aftermath of #MeToo, and many considered his conviction a sign that going forward, women’s experiences could be afforded greater weight and credibility by jurors.”