In a surprising turn of events regarding Bill Cosby's ongoing attempts to be released from prison, the iconic comedian and actor is apparently actually getting out of prison in the very near future. Despite previous attempts to appeal Cosby's prison sentence failing to make legal waves, Pennsylvania's highest court made the ruling on June 30 to overturn the 83-year-old's sexual assault conviction. As it stands, Cosby will be released from prison after over two years of incarceration, and just a fourth of the way into his expected sentence.
The Pennsylvania court ruling came after the discovery of an agreement made between Bill Cosby and a previous prosecutor that actually prevented the entertainer from being charged in this particular case, according to the Associated Press. It appears that District Attorney Kevin Steele, whose call it was to arrest Cosby, was legally required to enforce his predecessor's vow to not charge Cosby after he offered his own possibly incriminating testimony for Andrea Constand's civil suit.
Even though there was no written proof that such an agreement took place, Justice David Wecht ruled that Cosby had the aforementioned agreement in mind when he offered his personal testimony, believing that what he said wouldn't be used against him. It's in the court's view that the "only remedy" in the matter that would uphold the public's justice system expectations was to overturn the conviction, also adding "barring any further prosecution" to that sentiment.
Bill Cosby was in the midst of a ten-year sentence for his alleged assault of accuser Andrea Constand back in 2004, with comedian Hannibal Burress having initially sparked renewed attention into rumors about rape and molestation allegations. That was the start of the downfall, with Netflix pulling back on a comedy special deal signed just months earlier, combined with NBC axing a sitcom agreement and multiple other deals falling apart behind the scenes.
After he was charged and arrested in 2015 prior to the statute of limitations expiring, Cosby's first trial saw a single accuser being allowed to testify, though that all ended in the jury being deadlocked. For the retrial, the judge allowed five other accusers to testify against Cosby with stories of their alleged experiences with him in the 1980s. And while it was initially deemed suitable as a way of showing a pattern of sexually deviant behavior, the Pennsylvania Supreme court viewed the testimony as having tainted the trial. He was convicted in 2018, and officially began his sentence in September of that year.
At this time, it's not known whether prosecutors will try and find some way to move forward by appealing the court's decision, or if they will make further efforts to try Cosby for a third time, which may not be so likely, given the court's ruling. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Bill Cosby made it clear that the comedian and his legal team are overjoyed by the court's revised decision, telling this to Insider:
This is amazing news. We're excited and we want to thank the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Further details about Bill Cosby's release were not revealed, though it's likely the comedian will have his own statement to deliver once the time is right. As well, it's unclear whether this high-profile reversal will have any effect on other cases involving #MeToo-esque allegations against celebrities.