A Pennsylvania Appellate Court overturned actor Bill Cosby’s 2018 sex assault conviction Wednesday, allowing the actor to walk free after serving just two years of a 3-10 year sentence stemming from an incident in 2004.
The Associated Press reports that Pennsylvania’s highest court dismissed Cosby’s conviction “after finding an agreement with a previous prosecutor prevented [Cosby] from being charged in the case.
“The trial judge had allowed just one other accuser to testify at Cosby’s first trial when the jury deadlocked. However, he then allowed five other accusers to testify at the retrial about their experiences with Cosby in the 1980s,” the AP reported. “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that testimony tainted the trial, even though a lower appeals court had found it appropriate to show a signature pattern of drugging and molesting women.”
Cosby, the outlet added, has refused to take responsibility for the 2004 incident and had “vowed to serve all 10 years rather than acknowledge any remorse.”
Cosby’s lawyers told the appellate court that “prosecutors put on vague evidence about the uncharged conduct” relating to the five other accusers who testified at his first trial, “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,” they said.
Prosecutors charged that Cosby used his celebrity status to build trust with women whom he then exploited. In Constand’s case, Cosby allegedly “invited Constad to an estate he owns in Pennsylvania” to discuss a working relationship “the night she said he drugged and sexually assaulted her.”
Constad made her claim in 2005, but prosecutors were initially reluctant to bring charges against Cosby because of the length of time that had elapsed between the incident and Constad’s complaint to police. Prosecutors reopened the case in 2015 after a stunning deposition, in which Cosby appeared to admit he had, in the past, drugged women –and just days before the statute of limitations on sexual assault expired.
Cosby was convicted in his second trial in 2017 and sentenced to 3-10 years behind bars. He became eligible for parole last year, but a parole board decided against allowing Cosby to walk free because he failed to complete a prison sex offender program.
The New York Post added that Cosby will be released from prison following the Pennsylvania Appellate Court’s decision.
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