The highest court in the state of Pennsylvania has overturned the sexual assault conviction of comedian and actor Bill Cosby after finding an agreement he had with a previous prosecutor prevented him from being charged in the case.
Cosby has already served two years that are part of a three-to-ten year prison sentence at a facility located near the city of Philadelphia. The comedian vowed to serve all ten years of his sentence rather than acknowledge any kind of remorse over the alleged 2004 incident with accuser Andrea Constand.
The 83-year-old Cosby, who was once beloved as “America’s Dad,” was convicted of drugging and molesting the Temple University employee at his suburban estate.
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.
Bill Cosby was the first big celebrity and TV personality to be tried and convicted of sexual crimes during the now infamous #MeToo era, which makes prosecutors feel extra cautious and hesitant to call other accusers in similar cases. However, the law concerning prior bad act testimony is different from state to state, which means the ruling only holds sway in the state of Pennsylvania.
Prosecutors involved in the case have not stated if they are planning to appeal or will seek to try Cosby for a third time.