Bill Cosby to be Released After Sexual Assault Conviction Overturned by Pennsylvania Supreme Court
June 30, 2021
by Jackie Salo
Bill Cosby had his sexual assault conviction thrown out Wednesday — in a stunning ruling by Pennsylvania’s highest court that found a prosecutor’s decades-old agreement should have shielded him from criminal charges.
The fallen funnyman, 83, is set to walk out of a Philadelphia-area prison a free man after serving more than two years of a three- to 10-year sentence.
A previous prosecutor had decided not to charge the legendary comic, and he relied on that move to speak freely and give incriminating statements.
By David K. Li
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court vacated the sexual assault conviction of Bill Cosby on Wednesday and ordered his release from prison after finding that he was denied protection against self-incrimination.
The court said that a prosecutor’s decision not to charge Cosby, 83, opened the door for him to speak freely in a lawsuit against him — and that testimony was key in his conviction years later by another prosecutor.
Cosby was convicted in 2018 of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004, and was serving a three- to 10-year sentence. He has served two years of the sentence.
The state Supreme Court said Cosby cannot be retried on the same charges.
“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.
“For these reasons, Cosby’s convictions and judgment of sentence are vacated, and he is discharged.”
It was not immediately clear when Cosby would be released from SCI Phoenix, where he’s currently housed as inmate No. NN7687.