Convicted Rapist Bill Cosby Walks Free After Court Overturns Decision

Convicted Rapist Bill Cosby Walks Free After Court Overturns Decision

The court released Cosby citing an agreement between the television star and a former attorney, including a settlement with a victim.

Bill Cosby speaks to reporters outside of his home on June 30, 2021 in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania. Bill Cosby was released from prison after court overturns his sex assault conviction. (Photo by Michael Abbott/Getty Images)

Trigger Warning: The story has details of sexual assault and rape that readers may find disturbing

Bill Cosby was released from prison after a Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his conviction on sexual assault charges in 2018. In 2004, a woman named Andrea Constand came forward with allegations of being drugged and sexually assaulted by the former television host back in 2004. She reported the matter to Montgomery County District Attorney, Bruce Castor, a year later. But Castor declined to prosecute Cosby, citing an agreement with the star never to do so after Cosby agreed to testify for a deposition in a civil suit that Constand had filed, reports PEOPLE. Cosby and Constand went on to ultimately settle for $3.38 million. Cosby admitted to drugging women with quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with, in the deposition. He also admitted to numerous extramarital affairs.



In Cosby's conviction in 2018 of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, his deposition in the civil suitcase that was used against him. Attorney Kevin Steele, who succeeded Castor decided to go against the previous agreement and filed charges in 2015. Days later he was arrested. In its judgment, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated that the decision to use Cosby's statements in his deposition could not be used against him since it deprived him of his Fifth Amendment rights. It stated that Cosby had been subjected to "an unconstitutional 'coercive bait-and-switch,'" which was a "due process violation." It added, "D.A. Castor's successors did not feel bound by his decision, and decided to prosecute Cosby notwithstanding that prior undertaking."



It added, "The fruits of Cosby's reliance upon D.A. Castor's decision — Cosby's sworn inculpatory testimony — were then used by D.A. Castor's successors against Cosby at Cosby's criminal trial." Steele released a statement after Cosby's release where he said, it had been the result of "a procedural issue that is irrelevant to the facts of the crime." It added, "I want to commend Cosby's victim Andrea Constand for her bravery in coming forward and remaining steadfast throughout this long ordeal, as well as all of the other women who have shared similar experiences. My hope is that this decision will not dampen the reporting of sexual assaults by victims." Following Constand's allegations, a number of other women came forward with their own testimonies of assault against Cosby. In all, there were allegations from 60 women, of which several testified during Cosby's trial.



In a victim impact statement made by Constand during her trial, she said, "When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence, and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities," she wrote. "Now, almost 15 years later, I'm a middle-aged woman who's been stuck in a holding pattern most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward. Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature, and my trust in myself and others," she said.  Gloria Allred, a lawyer who represented several of the victims, said, "This decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court today to overturn the conviction of Bill Cosby must be devastating for Bill Cosby's accusers. My heart especially goes out to those who bravely testified in both of his criminal cases."



She added, "Despite the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision, this was an important fight for justice and even though the court overturned the conviction on technical grounds, it did not vindicate Bill Cosby's conduct and should not be interpreted as a statement or a finding that he did not engage in the acts of which he has been accused." Cosby was in prison for two years.



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