Thursday, July 01, 2021
“I always protested innocence”
Bill Cosby celebrates after his release from prison
Bill Cosby spent almost three years in prison for sexual assault. Now a Supreme Court in Pennsylvania is surprisingly overturning the verdict. The 83-year-old is at large again and immediately speaks up.
US actor Bill Cosby was released from prison on Wednesday. Previously, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his sexual assault conviction based on an agreement the former actor had with a prosecutor in 2005. Following his release, Cosby now speaks from his home via Twitter.
“I have never changed my attitude or my history. I always protested my innocence,” wrote Cosby. He added, “Thanks to all of my fans, supporters, and friends who stood by my side during this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law.” He also published a photo showing him with his arm raised and his fist clenched. Immediately after his release, he posed in front of photographers with the victory sign.
Bill Cosby was serving nearly three years of a ten-year prison sentence after Andrea Constand testified in criminal proceedings that she was drugged and sexually abused by the actor. The testimony of Constand and five other women led the jury to convict Cosby of triple serious sexual assault in 2018. Cosby’s defense denied the allegations, as did similar claims against him by more than 60 other women outside the courtroom.
The surprising verdict last Wednesday is based on an agreement with a public prosecutor, because of which Cosby should not have been charged in the first place. The Supreme Court also banned further prosecution.
“Shame on the court”
According to this, a public prosecutor previously involved in the case would have promised in 2005 not to lead criminal proceedings against Cosby if he should testify in a civil case and pay compensation to Constand. The subsequent prosecutor, however, relied on statements by Cosby from the civil proceedings when indicting the 2015 criminal proceedings. Among other things, Cosby had stated that she had given Constand anesthetic before intercourse.
The court’s decision is seen on social media as a major setback in the fight against sexual violence, and Cosby’s release is accordingly lively discussed. “I’m so angry about this news,” wrote US actress and activist Amber Tamblyn on Twitter. “I personally know women who were knocked out and raped by this man with drugs. Shame on the court and this decision.”
“Today’s majority decision on Bill Cosby is not only disappointing, but also cause for concern,” wrote Andrea Constand in a joint statement with their lawyers. The decision could help victims of sexual violence refrain from taking legal action against the perpetrator.
US actress and #MeToo activist Rosanna Arquette tweeted: “I know a lot of young women and men who are so scared of reporting their rapists. I am devastated today after hearing the news of Cosby’s release. That is disgusting.”