Shomporko Online News Desk: Bill Cosby’s sex assault conviction was overturned by Pennsylvania’s highest court on Wednesday after it was discovered that an agreement with a prior prosecutor precluded him from being charged in the case.
Cosby has been in a state jail outside Philadelphia for more than two years of a three-to-ten-year term. He had promised to serve the entire ten-year sentence rather than show any regret for the 2004 encounter with Andrea Constand, a Canadian complainant.
Cosby, 83, was convicted of drugging and molesting a Temple University employee at his suburban mansion. He was once known as “America’s Dad.”
He was charged in late 2015 when a prosecutor armed with newly unsealed evidence — Cosby’s damaging deposition from her lawsuit — arrested him days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired.
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 parole after refusing to participate in sex offender programs during his nearly three years in state prison. He has long said he would resist the treatment programs and refuse to acknowledge wrongdoing even if it means serving the full 10-year sentence.
This is the first year he was eligible for parole under the three- to 10-year sentence handed down after his 2018 conviction.
Cosby spokesperson Andrew Wyatt called the parole board decision “appalling.”
Prosecutors said Cosby repeatedly used his fame and “family man” persona to manipulate young women, holding himself out as a mentor before betraying them.
Cosby, a groundbreaking Black actor who grew up in public housing in Philadelphia, made a fortune estimated at $400 million during his 50 years in the entertainment industry. His trademark clean comedy and homespun wisdom fuelled popular TV shows, books, and standup acts.
He fell from favor in his later years as he lectured the Black community about family values, but was attempting a comeback when he was arrested.
“There was a built-in level of trust because of his status in the entertainment industry and because he held himself out as a public moralist,” Assistant District Attorney Adrienne Jappe, of suburban Montgomery County, argued to the justices.
The night Cosby allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted Constand, he invited her to a residence he owns in Pennsylvania.
A year later, Constand, a former professional basketball player who now works at his alma mater, went to the cops. The other accusers knew Cosby from his work in the entertainment sector but did not report him to the authorities.
Normally, the Associated Press does not identify sexual assault victims without their consent, which Constand has given.
Source_ The Canadian Press