Watch: Bill Cosby Released From Prison After Court Overturns Conviction
Bill Cosby is a free man.
According to the court, the decision was made as a result of an agreement Cosby made with a previous prosecutor, which would've prevented him from being charged in the case.
"We want to thank the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. This is what we have been fighting for and this is justice and justice for Black America," Cosby's attorney Andrew Wyatt said in a statement. "This is justice Mr. Cosby has been fighting for. They saw the light. He waived his fifth amendment right and settled out of court. He was given a deal and he had immunity. He should have never been charged."
Cosby was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. He was found guilty of aggravated indecent assault and sentenced by a judge in September 2018. Cosby maintains that his contact with Constand was consensual and he has denied all other allegations of wrongdoing.
When judge Steven T. O'Neill delivered the three- to 10-year sentence, he said, "Nobody is above the law because of where they live, who they are, wealth, fame, celebrity or even philanthropy." After today's decision, district attorney Kevin R. Steele voiced his disappointment at Cosby's freedom.
"He was found guilty by a jury and now goes free on a procedural issue that is irrelevant to the facts of the crime," he shared. "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. Prosecutors in my office will continue to follow the evidence wherever and to whomever it leads. We still believe that no one is above the law—including those who are rich, famous and powerful."
Hollywood stars and public figures close to the case are also speaking out on social media. See their reactions to the latest developments below.
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The Cosby Show star Phylicia Rashad: "FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected! I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth. Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing."
Andrea Constand: "Today's majority decision regarding Bill Cosby is not only disappointing, but of concern in that it may discourage those who seek justice for sexual assault in the criminal justice system from reporting or participating in the prosecution of the assailant or may force a victim to choose between filing either a criminal or civil action."
Amber Tamblyn: "I am furious to hear this news. I personally know women who this man drugged and raped while unconscious. Shame on the court and this decision. #TimesUp #MeToo. I don't want to hear anything about how cancel culture ruined men's lives during the MeToo era reckoning for women and survivors. How we went too far. Today's news that Cosby's conviction is being overturned is proof we haven't gone far enough. Our justice system MUST change."
Christina Lahti: "I'm enraged, heartbroken and disgusted by Cosby's release. I can only imagine what all his survivors must be feeling. This convicted rapist is free today because he is a man of privilege. The Patriarchy rears it's ugly head yet again."
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Lane Moore: "I never wanna hear 'well did you report it?' again. 60 women accused Bill Cosby, and even with 60 accusers we took years to convict, and now he's going free anyway. there are no consequences for rape and rapists know that. so let's be real: rape is fully legal in this country."
Stella Parton: "How can the Supreme Court overturn something after a conviction on a factual occurrence? Oh, excuse me, if you are male and have enough money and influence you can even be President no matter how corrupt you may be. Bill Cosby is just one of many."
Lisa Bloom: "The 3 Bill Cosby accusers I represent and I are disgusted that he is a free man today. He is not released because he is innocent. He is released because a prosecutor promised him years ago that he would not be brought to justice, without even making a deal for him to do time…Every day I fight for sexual assault victims and have to advise them of the ugly truth: the system still massively favors the rich and powerful. You need a superhuman level of strength and courage. Luckily many victims have it. Any other Cosby victims, time to come forward!"