Bill Cosby is leaving jail.
The 83-year-old comedian is set to be released from prison immediately after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his 2018 sexual assault conviction, finding fault with the way that prosecutors pursued their case against him. The court also barred further prosecution.
A representative for Cosby is already on route to pick up the actor from prison and is expected to see him released by mid-afternoon today, reports Deadline.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court found an agreement with a previous prosecutor should have prevented Cosby from being charged in the case. District Attorney Kevin Steele made the decision to arrest Cosby, but the court found Steele was obligated to stand by his predecessor’s promise not to charge Cosby when he gave potentially incriminating testimony in a civil suit filed by Andrea Constand. (There appears to be no evidence that this promise was in writing.)
Justice David Wecht said that the previous District Attorney assured Cosby he would not be prosecuted when he testified in Constand’s civil case. Wecht said that Cosby relied on that assurance and gave self-incriminating testimony. Because criminal defendants can refuse to testify by invoking their 5th amendment rights, it violated constitutional rights to try him later based on civil court testimony.
The court documents indicate the justices felt that overturning the conviction and barring any further prosecution, "is the only remedy that comports with society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system."
The Cosby Show star was convicted in April 2018 and sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for three counts of sexual assault against Andrea Constand. Though the trial only addressed Constand’s allegations, more than 60 women have accused him of assault. 35 of those women told their story in New York Magazine.
He had vowed to serve time rather than express remorse, and has spent the last two years in prison in Philadelphia, Pa.
Cosby’s former costar Phylicia Rashad tweeted her support of the news.
FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected! pic.twitter.com/NrGUdwr23c
— Phylicia Rashad (@PhyliciaRashad) June 30, 2021