In a shocking turn of events, disgraced TV legend Bill Cosby is set to be released from prison after Pennsylvania’s highest court overturned his sexual assault conviction on Wednesday.
In 2018, Cosby was found guilty of raping a business associate named Andrea Constand.
He was sentenced to 10 years behind bars, and he said that he would serve the entire decade rather than admit to any wrongdoing or convey any remorse for his actions.
But just two years later, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decided that Cosby’s conviction violates an agreement he made with the previous Montgomery County district attorney.
Current DA Kevin Steele made the decision to arrest Cosby in 2015, just 12 days before the the 12-year statute of limitations expired.
But the court ruled today that in doing so, Steele broke an agreement that Cosby had made with his predecessor before the 83-year-old sitcom star provided incriminating evidence in Constand’s civil case.
So now, Cosby is being turned loose having only served a fraction of his sentence.
And the loophole is especially galling, as Cosby’s conviction was overturned as a result of Constand’s lawsuit against him, which appeared to be her only recourse at the time.
Cosby was accused of drugging and raping more than 50 women, but Constand’s case was the only one that fell within the range of the statute of limitations when it was re-investigated.
And so Constand lived out every victim’s nightmare:
She came face to face with her accuser, told her harrowing tale in public, and submitted herself to cross-examination from Cosby’s team of high-priced attorneys.
We can only imagine how she’s feeling today, following the news that Cosby will be released on a technicality.
Cosby’s attorneys won the right to have his case retried earlier this month.
During the appeals process, they argued that in allowing five of Cosby’s victims to testify after the jury in his criminal case deadlocked, the original judge had tainted the entire trial.
One of Cosby’s attorneys argued that releasing the formerly-beloved comic and barring any future prosecution “is the only remedy that comports with society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system.”
On social media, the reaction to Cosby’s release was immediate and furious.
“If you still think there’s any question that the system is rigged for the wealthy and powerful who can hire million-dollar lawyers, think again,” Eliza Orlins tweeted.
“F-ck Bill Cosby. Still. Forever. I believe survivors. Ignore the trolls. I said what I said,” @theKitchenista added.
“The Court is not ruling that he “didn’t do it,” but rather that he had a prior deal *not to be charged* for it,” Ari Melber pointed out.
The furor over today’s decision is unlikely to subside any time soon, and it will almost certainly result in Cosby becoming more reviled than ever before.
We can only hope that for the sake of his victims, Cosby will have the decency to go into hiding and not try to redeem his public image.
We’ll have further updates on this developing story as more information becomes available.