Actor Bill Cosby is set to be released from prison after Pennsylvania's highest court overturned his 2018 sexual assault conviction on Wednesday.
Cosby, 83, served nearly three years of the 10-year sentence rendered after the iconic comedian and actor was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. Overall, more than 50 women have come forward with sexual assault claims against Cosby, although the statute of limitations had run out on most of those claims.
According to the New York Times, the Pennsylvania appeals court said that a “non-prosecution agreement” struck with a previous prosecutor in 2005 meant that Cosby should not have been charged in the case. The court also barred a retrial in the case, according to the Times.
After Cosby's 2018 conviction, several networks dropped reruns of the actor's successful 1980s comedy series The Cosby Show.
The Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, district attorney Kevin Steele issued a statement about Cosby's release: "He was found guilty by a jury and now goes free on a procedural issue that is irrelevant to the facts of the crime. 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," Steele said, as reported by WPVI in Philadelphia among other outlets.
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