US comedian Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction has been overturned by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, paving the way for his release.
Cosby, 83, has served more than two years of a three to 10-year sentence at a state prison near Philadelphia.
He had been found guilty of drugging and molesting ex-basketball player Andrea Constand in 2004.
Cosby is best known for starring in the 1980s TV series The Cosby Show and was once known as “America’s Dad”.ADVERTISEMENT
Dozens of women had publically accused him of sexual assault, although he was only tried criminally for the incident against Andrea Constand. His conviction in 2018 was widely seen as a landmark moment in the #MeToo movement.
But now, Pennsylvania’s highest court has found there was a “process violation” because Cosby had made an agreement with a previous state prosecutor that he would not be charged in the case.
However in 2015 a new prosecutor filed charges after testimony from a civil lawsuit brought by Andrea Constand against the actor was revealed.
“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 79-page finding reads.
In their decision, the judges also found that testimony from accusers unrelated to the case had tainted the trial.
“Cosby’s convictions and judgment of sentence are vacated, and he is discharged,” the court said.