On Wednesday evening, legendary comedian and actor Bill Cosby spoke out for the first time since being released from prison.
Earlier today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stunningly overturned his sexual assault conviction and ordered his immediate release. A legal technicality led to the controversial celebrity’s release while bringing his sentence to an early end.
He spent almost three years in prison before the court overturned Cosby’s conviction, according to an Associated Press report. The 83-year-old served a three to 10-year sentence after authorities arrested him in 2015. However, the court’s recent decision followed news of a plea deal with prosecutors that was not honored. The deal would have prevented Bill Cosby from being charged in the sexual assault case.
Therefore the legal technicality worked out in Cosby’s favor. This morning he returned to his home in Philadelphia where his lawyer addressed a crowd of reporters. In addition, the comedian also posted on Twitter thanking his fans and friends who supported him throughout the controversy. Cosby shared a defiant message and added a photo of him with his head bowed and his fist in the air.
“I have never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence. Thank you to all my fans, supporters and friends who stood by me through this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law. #BillCosby,” Bill Cosby captioned his Twitter post.
Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Conviction Overturned
Previous to Bill Cosby’s 2015 arrest, he testified in a civil trial. But he testified on the condition that his testimony couldn’t be used against him. The prosecution agreed to this stipulation at the time.
In 2015, Pennsylvania’s prosecutors reneged on the deal and used Cosby’s testimony against him. Officials arrested and charged him for sexual assault. In fact, authorities arrested Bill Cosby only days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired on the accusations.
On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court forced the state to honor their original agreement. Supposedly there is no written agreement between Bill Cosby and the state’s prosecutors. Yet the state court came to a decision that made District Attorney Kevin Steele abide with his colleague’s arrangement.
The state’s Supreme Court reached a split decision over the comedian’s infamous case. The split went in Cosby’s favor though. Justice David Wecht overturned the conviction, which prevents any future prosecution against the celebrity.
“[It] is the only remedy that comports with society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system,” Justice Wecht wrote in the decision.
The court’s ruling has already received much criticism. Many are saying it’s a setback for the #MeToo Movement, which held numerous celebrities accountable for similar cases as Cosby’s sexual assault arrest. The decision has already stirred up further controversy in the ongoing Bill Cosby saga. Yet the actor and comedian is now a free man, which the court system has upheld.