Bill Cosby Freed From Prison After Serving 3 Years For Sexual Assault
Bill Cosby‘s conviction for sexual assault was overturned on Wednesday. Cosby, whose case was the first high-profile sexual assault trial to unfold during the #MeToo movement, was immediately freed from prison.
Cosby served three years of a three to 10-year sentence at a maximum-security facility outside of Philadelphia. The seven-member Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Cosby had not been granted a fair trial in 2018.
One of Cosby’s lawyers, Brian W. Perry, said that Cosby was released from prison after 2 p.m. and was going to his home in Philadelphia.
The ruling lifted the legal case against Cosby, which was brought by prosecutors in Pennsylvania that initiated with his arrest in 2015, after being charged with drugging and raping a woman at his home in Philadelphia 11 years earlier.
At the end of the trial in 2018, the jury convicted Cosby of three counts of sexual assault against Andrea Constand.
The ruling overturned the first significant criminal conviction of the #MeToo period and came after allegations against Harvey Weinstein were made for the same reason: sexual assault.
Cosby’s lawyers said at the time that it would be challenging for him to receive a fair trial because of the circumstances, which were described as a time of “public panic.” The lawyers believe that the panic caused by Weinstein would influence Cosby’s case.
“We are deeply disappointed in today’s ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and by the message this decision sends to the brave survivors who came forward to seek justice for what Bill Cosy did to them. This is not justice,” said Scott Berkowitz, the president of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).
Phylicia Rashad, who played Cosby’s wife in The Cosby Show, expressed her joy about the decision on Twitter.
FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected! pic.twitter.com/NrGUdwr23c
— Phylicia Rashad (@PhyliciaRashad) June 30, 2021
This decision went against the wishes of several women who claimed they were assaulted or raped by Cosby.
“We may never know the full extent of his double life as a sexual predator, but his decades-long reign of terror as a serial rapist is over,” wrote Constand in a victim impact statement, filed in 2018.
Janice Dickinson, a former model, told the court that Cosby raped her in 1982 after drugging her. “My heart is beating out of my chest at the moment,” she said after the sentencing. Four other women claimed they had also been drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby during the prosecution.
“This is fair and just,” she said in 2018. “I am victorious.”