The disgraced American comedian and actor Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction was thrown out of the Pennsylvania court on Wednesday which freed the actor from prison after more than three years. The 83-year-old was found guilty of molesting and drugging a Temple University employee, Andrea Constand, at his mansion in Philadelphia.
Bill Cosby was one of the first celebrities to be tried and convicted from the #metoo movement and his conviction was taken as a triumph to convict powerful men for their heinous misconducts.
Why was the conviction overturned?
This conviction was overturned as the split court found that Cosby was persecuted unfairly because the previous district attorney had promised him that he wouldn’t be charged over Constand’s accusation. Cosby was charged by another prosecutor who was not bound by any such agreement.
According to the court, Cosby relied on the promise and testified following that without invoking the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination instead of the lawsuit by Constand.
The court was liable to the Non-prosecution agreement which was brought into the knowledge of the court thus the conviction was overturned. The justices of the court stated that “denying the defendant the benefit of that decision is an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was forgone for more than a decade”
This is an extremely rare case. A law professor at Pennsylvania, Wesley Oliver stated that he has never heard anything more grappling as this informal non-prosecution promise by a prosecutor which reverted the actual conviction verdict.
The accusers of Bill Cosby were highly shocked and disappointed over the conviction verdict reversal. Gloria Alfred, the attorney of the accused stated that she will proceed with the civil lawsuit against the American actor.
Andrea Constand, the main accuser whose allegation put the comedian behind the bars released a statement stating the overturn conviction as highly disappointing “it may discourage those who seek justice for sexual assault in the criminal justice system from reporting or participating in the prosecution of the assailant or may force a victim to choose between filing either a criminal or civil action”
The disgraced “American dad” served more than two years in a state prison near Philadelphia before he was freed from the prison yesterday.
Bill Cosby’s release outraged the celebrities and supporters of the #metoo movement. Support for the survivors started pouring in on Twitter and other social media platforms.
The scandal went through a watershed moment back in 2015 when as many as 35 women were featured on the cover of New York magazine who came forward and accused Cosby of the sexual assault. He always denied the allegations. It is highly unlikely that Cosby will be tried again. There were accusations from dozens of women for sexual misconduct but only 5 came forward to testify and their testimony also dated back decades. It is very unlikely to prosecute the matter further on the grounds set by Andrea Constand.