The highest court in Pennsylvania on Wednesday overturned Bill Cosby’s sex assault conviction — paving the way for the former stand-up comedian’s release from prison.
The supreme court ruling resulted from an agreement the Hollywood actor struck with Bruce Castor, a district attorney, in 2005 in which he refused to prosecute Cosby in exchange for his testimony during a civil trial.
Cosby had been convicted of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, in 2004.
In her statement during the trial, she had said: “Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it”.
Constand, an ex-basketball player, was among the over 40 women who accused him of predatory sexual abuse.
The film star was thereafter convicted and sentenced to prison in 2018 at his second trial — after a first trial ended in a hung jury.
The 83-year-old, who had also served more than two years of a three- to 10-year sentence at a state prison near Philadelphia, vowed to serve all 10 years rather than admit any remorse over the encounter with his accuser.
But in its latest ruling, the state supreme court found that Cosby’s agreement with Castor, who was the previous prosecutor, prevented him from being prosecuted for the claims brought by Constand.
“Cosby’s convictions and judgment of sentence are vacated, and he is discharged,” BBC quoted the court as saying.
The ruling also bars any retrial in the case.