Pennsylvania’s highest court overturned Bill Cosby’s sex assault conviction Wednesday, after finding an agreement with a previous prosecutor prevented him from being charged in the case. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Cosby was released from prison on Wednesday afternoon, after serving more than two years of a three- to 10-year sentence at a state prison near Philadelphia. He had vowed to serve all 10 years rather than acknowledge any remorse over the 2004 encounter with accuser Andrea Constand.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said, “The majority decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court orders the release of William H. Cosby Jr. from state prison. He was found guilty by a jury and now goes free on a procedural issue that is irrelevant to the facts of the crime.” The 83-year-old Cosby was convicted of drugging and molesting Constand at his suburban estate. The trial judge had allowed just one other accuser to testify at Cosby’s first trial, when the jury deadlocked. However, he then allowed five other accusers to testify at the retrial about their experiences with Cosby in the 1980s. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that testimony tainted the trial, even though a lower appeals court had found it appropriate to show a signature pattern of drugging and molesting women.
In May, Cosby was denied paroled after refusing to participate in sex offender programs during his nearly three years in state prison. He was adamant that he would resist any treatment programs and refuse to acknowledge wrongdoing even if it meant serving the full 10-year sentence.
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