'Bill Cosby Not Guilty': Court Overturns Sexual Assault Conviction
While multiple women accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault, he was tried criminally for only one incident.
Pennsylvania's highest court on Wednesday, 30 June, overturned comedian Bill Cosby's sexual assault conviction – ruling that the prosecutor who brought the case "was bound by his predecessor’s agreement not to charge Cosby," reported Associated Press.
Once known as 'America's Dad', 83-year-old Cosby served two years of a three to 10-year sentence. In 2018, he was found guilty for drugging and sexually assaulting a former basketball player at his Philadelphia home in 2004.
While multiple women accused Cosby of sexual assault, he was tried criminally for only one incident – still making it a landmark event in the #MeToo movement.
He met the survivor in 2002, when she was working in Temple University. She went to the cops with allegations of assault in 2005. The then state prosecutor, Bruce Castor, did not press charges.
While she sued the comedian for defamation, the two reached a settlement in 2006. Between 2014 and 2015, multiple women came forward with similar allegations against Cosby. However, local authorities reopened the case involving the former basketball player just days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired.
What Did the Court Say?
A written agreement was reached between Castor and Cosby – which said that if he testified in the survivor's civil lawsuit, he would not be charged.
The court also found testimony from the accusers, which was unrelated to the trial of the case.
"There is only one remedy that can completely restore Cosby to the status quo ante. He must be discharged, and any future prosecution on these particular charges must be barred," the findings released on Wednesday read.
Reacting to this, Cosby's Spokesperson Andrew Wyatt told the BBC:
"This is the justice Bill Cosby has been fighting for. They saw the light. He was given a deal and he had immunity. He should have never been charged."
'Devastating': Women React to Verdict
Lawyer Gloria Allred, who represented more than 30 accusers of Cosby, called the findings "devastating."
"My heart especially goes out to those who bravely testified in both of his criminal cases," her statement said, as per the BBC.
“On today’s episode of ‘How the Justice System Fails Victims’: Bill Cosby released on a technicality,” tweeted the former California congresswoman Katie Hill.
The organisation 'Women in Film' released a statement that read, according to The Guardian:
“Today’s news is a setback in the fight for justice for sexual assault survivors. When the system disregards dozens of accusers in a situation like this – because of a technical loophole, not because of the proof that led to sentencing – it creates the perception that it’s “not worth it” for victims to come forward.”
However, actor Phylicia Rashad, who played Cosby’s TV wife in his show from 1984 to 1992, stood by the comedian. “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted – a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” she tweeted.
(With inputs from the BBC, Guardian and Associated Press)
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