Philadelphia – In a shocking series of events, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court Wednesday afternoon threw out Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction and paved the way for his immediate release.
The 83-year old actor’s release is not indicative of his innocence however. The reason the Supreme Court threw out his conviction was over a technicality.
The prosecution for this case, District Attorney Kevin Steele, used incriminating evidence that Cosby provided in a deposition for a civil case against Temple University sports admin Andrea Constand. At the time of the deposition, Cosby had an agreement with Steele’s predecessor that he would not be charged for any crime pertaining to the testimony. Steele ignored the agreement and chose to charge Cosby days before the 12-year statute of limitations ran out on the assault.
Released on a technicality
Justice David Wecht said Cosby had relied on the former district attorney’s decision not to charge him when he gave his potentially incriminating testimony in Constand’s civil case. The court called Cosby’s arrest “an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was forgone for more than a decade.”
The justices said that overturning the conviction, and barring any further prosecution, “is the only remedy that comports with society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system.”
In May, Cosby was denied parole after refusing to participate in sex offender programs behind bars. 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.
Cosby had served more than two years of a three to 10-year sentence after being found guilty of drugging and violating Constand.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.