Bill Cosby released from jail after Pennsylvania court overturned sexual assault conviction

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Pennsylvania’s highest court on Wednesday dismissed Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction in a startling reversal of fortune for the comedian once known as “America’s Dad”, ruling that the prosecutor who brought the The case was bound by his predecessor’s agreement not to charge Cosby. Cosby, 83, was released from prison hours after the ruling. He had served more than two years of a three to 10 year sentence after being convicted of drugging and raping Temple University athletic administrator Andrea Constand at his home in suburban Philadelphia in 2004 . He was the first celebrity tried and convicted in the #MeToo The former “Cosby Show” star was arrested in 2015, when a district attorney armed with newly unsealed evidence – the prejudicial testimony of the comic in a lawsuit brought by Constand – brought charges against him days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired. But the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said District Attorney Kevin Steele, who made the decision to arrest Cosby, was obligated to keep his predecessor’s promise not to indict Cosby. There was no evidence that the promise was ever put in writing. Judge David Wecht, writing for a divided court, said Cosby relied on the former district attorney’s decision not to charge him when the comedian gave his potentially incriminating testimony in the civil case of Constand. READ THE COURT’S OPINION HERE. The court called Cosby’s arrest “an affront to fundamental fairness, especially when it results in a criminal prosecution that has been abandoned for more than a decade.” The judges said quashing the conviction and banning all further prosecution “is the only remedy that meets society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system.” A Cosby spokesperson did not immediately return a message asking for comment. Neither a representative of Steele, Constand or his lawyer. “FINALLY !!!! A terrible wrong is being righted – a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” “I’m furious to hear this news,” actress Amber Tamblyn, founder of Time’s Up, a sexual assault advocacy group, said in a Twitter post. “I personally know women this man drugged and raped while they were unconscious. Shame on the court and on that decision.” Four judges formed the majority which ruled in favor of Cosby, while three others dissented in whole or in part. Even though Cosby was only charged with assaulting Constand, the trial judge allowed five other accusers to testify that they too were similarly victimized by Cosby in the 1980s. Prosecutors called them. as witnesses to establish what they said was a pattern of criminal behavior on Cosby’s part. tendency to allow testimonials that go beyond the limits of attacks on personality. State law allows testimony of “prior bad acts” only in limited cases, including to show a criminal pattern so specific that it serves to identify the perpetrator. But the court declined to say whether five more the accusers should have been allowed to testify, considering it moot given the conclusion that Cosby should not have been prosecuted in the first place. In New York, the pre-judge siding with the trial of the film mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose case sparked the explosion of the #MeToo movement in 2017, let four other accusers testify last year. Weinstein was found guilty and sentenced to 23 years in prison. He now faces separate charges in California. In May, Cosby was denied parole after refusing to participate in sex offender programs behind bars. He has long said he would resist treatment programs and refuse to acknowledge wrongdoing, even if it means serving the 10-year sentence. Prosecutors said Cosby had repeatedly used his fame and his “family man” persona to manipulate young women, posing as a mentor before betraying them. Cosby, a revolutionary black actor who grew up in social housing in Philadelphia, made his fortune estimated at $ 400 million during his 50 years in the entertainment industry. Its own comedy trademark has fueled popular TV shows, books, and stand-up shows. He fell out of favor in his later years as he lectured the black community about family values, but was attempting a comeback when he was arrested. The PA usually does not identify sexual assault. victims without their permission, which Constand granted.

Pennsylvania’s highest court on Wednesday dismissed Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction in a startling reversal of fortune for the comedian once known as “America’s Dad”, ruling that the prosecutor who brought the case was bound by his predecessor’s agreement not to indict Cosby.

Cosby, 83, was released from prison hours after the decision. He had served more than two years of a three to 10 year sentence after being convicted of drugging and raping Temple University athletic administrator Andrea Constand at his home in suburban Philadelphia in 2004 He was the first celebrity tried and convicted in the #MeToo era.

The former “Cosby Show” star was arrested in 2015, when a district attorney armed with newly unsealed evidence – the comic’s prejudicial deposition testimony in a lawsuit brought by Constand – laid charges against him a few days before the expiration of the 12-year limitation period.

But the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said District Attorney Kevin Steele, who made the decision to arrest Cosby, was obligated to keep his predecessor’s promise not to indict Cosby. There was no evidence that the promise was ever put in writing.

Judge David Wecht, writing for a divided court, said Cosby relied on the former district attorney’s decision not to charge him when the comedian gave his potentially incriminating testimony in the civil case of Constand.

READ THE COURT’S OPINION HERE

The court called Cosby’s arrest “an affront to fundamental fairness, especially when it results in a criminal prosecution that has been abandoned for more than a decade.”

The judges said quashing the conviction and banning all further prosecution “is the only remedy that meets society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system.”

A Cosby spokesperson did not immediately return a message asking for comment. Neither a representative of Steele, Constand or his lawyer.

“FINALLY !!!! A terrible wrong is being righted – a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” tweeted actor Phylicia Rashad’s “Cosby Show” co-star.

“I am furious to hear this news,” actress Amber Tamblyn, founder of Time’s Up, a sexual assault advocacy group, said in a Twitter post. “I personally know women this man drugged and raped while they were unconscious. Shame on the court and on that decision.”

Four judges formed the majority which ruled in favor of Cosby, while three others dissented in whole or in part.

Although Cosby was only charged with assaulting Constand, the trial judge allowed five other accusers to testify that they too were similarly victimized by Cosby in the 1980s. Prosecutors referred to them as witnesses to establish what they said was criminal behavior on Cosby’s part.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices have expressed concern over what they see as a growing trend in the judiciary to allow testimony that goes beyond the limits of personality attacks. State law allows testimony of “prior bad acts” only in limited cases, including to show a criminal pattern so specific that it serves to identify the perpetrator.

But the court declined to say whether five other accusers should have been allowed to testify, considering this to be moot given the finding that Cosby should not have been sued in the first place.

In New York, the judge who presided over the trial of film mogul Harvey Weinstein last year, whose case sparked the #MeToo movement in 2017, has allowed four other accusers to testify. Weinstein was found guilty and sentenced to 23 years in prison. He now faces separate charges in California.

In May, Cosby was denied parole after refusing to participate in sex offender programs behind bars. He has long said he would resist treatment programs and refuse to admit wrongdoing even if it means serving the 10-year sentence.

Prosecutors said Cosby had repeatedly used his fame and “family man” character to manipulate young women, posing as a mentor before betraying them.

Cosby, a revolutionary black actor who grew up in social housing in Philadelphia, made his fortune estimated at $ 400 million during his 50 years in the entertainment industry. His own branded comedy has fueled popular TV shows, books, and stand-up acts.

He fell out of favor in his later years as he lectured the black community about family values, but was attempting a comeback when he was arrested.

The AP typically does not identify victims of sexual assault without their permission, which Constand granted.


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