Bill Cosby‘s sexual assault conviction dating back to the 2015 charge was overturned by Pennsylvania’s supreme court Wednesday afternoon. The overturn of the decision came as the court discovered an agreement with a prosecutor from a previous civil suit the prevented Cosby from being charged.
The “Cosby Show” actor had served two years of a sentence that was meant to carry incarceration of three to 10 years stemming from the 2004 encounter with the accuser, Andrea Constand. Cosby was also prepared to serve all 10 years of his sentence instead of acknowledging remorse for the incident with his accuser.
In December 2015, Cosby was charged with the sexual assault of Constand, who filed her allegation against the actor and comedian just days before the 12-year statute of limitations was set to run out on the incident. Constand claimed that in January 2004 she was at Cosby’s home in Pennsylvania, where she was given three pills meant to make her relax. In a later deposition, Cosby claimed that the pills were the commonly known over-the-counter antihistamine, Benadryl.
Bill Cosby’s defense team appealed the case in December 2020, and the state’s Supreme Court agreed to review two aspects of the case—one on the judge’s decision to let prosecutors call five additional accusers in addition to original accuser Andrea Constand, and another point regarding Cosby’s argument that he made an agreement with a former prosecutor that he would not ever be charged.
During the original trial, the judge had allowed just one other accuser to testify against Cosby as the jury became hung on a decision. Subsequent to this deadlock, the judge then allowed 5 additional accusers to come forward and offer testimony at the retrial about experiences dating back to the 1980s with Cosby.
The state’s Supreme Court stated that the testimony had actually tainted the trial, suggesting that the judge of the previous trial was willing to allow testimony that blurred the lines between actual admissible testimony and character attacks.
The 79-page Supreme Court decision comes from what they call a “bait and switch” tactic the court described and that the deposition the actor gave in the civil suit was not allowed to be used in a criminal suit.
Back in May, Bill Cosby was denied parole after refusing to participate in sex offender programs during his almost three years in prison. He stated for a long time he would resist the treatment programs and refuse to acknowledge wrongdoing even if it means serving the full 10-year sentence.
While he has admitted to these crimes in his deposition, the trial is now being called a violation of due process. In light of this, the Supreme Court has knocked down any possibility of further prosecution relating to this case, making Bill Cosby a free man. The court added language that if Cosby was to be tried a third time that would land him back in the situation he was in the previous trial, using the deposition as evidence of a guilty verdict. Many legal experts claim the decision by the Supreme Court was “the right thing to do” as it pertains to the actual law.
Cosby was the first major celebrity to be caught up in the #MeToo era of the American legal system.