Bill Cosby was once lovingly known as “America’s Dad”, largely due to his iconic role as the father figure in The Cosby Show. In recent years, however, Cosby has earned a much less savory reputation. He was the first of many celebrities to receive sexual assault allegations during the “Me Too” movement, and was subsequently convicted and sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison.
On June 30th, 2021, just over two years into Bill Cosby’s prison sentence, shocking news broke from Pennsylvania Supreme Court. They have officially overturned their previous ruling, thereby releasing Bill Cosby from prison and throwing out the case completely. In fact, Bill Cosby has already been released from prison and is now living back at home.
With substantial evidence against Bill Cosby, many people are confused as to how this is possible. Stay tuned to find out exactly how this situation unfolded and what’s next for Bill Cosby.
The Bill Cosby Allegation & Arrest
Although the alleged events took place in 2004, it wasn’t until 2015 when Andrea Constand came forward and accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. By her account, she was drugged by Bill Cosby during a visit to his home. She later woke up on his couch to find her clothing out of place, and cited unwanted sexual advances from Cosby. Cosby claimed that he only gave her Benadryl, and that any activities were consensual. Eventually, Bill Cosby settled this accusation with Andrea Constand for $3.4 million.
However, as information was released from this legal deposition, more accusers came forward. In total, more than 60 women came forward with sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby. Six of these women went on to testify against him in various court appearances. Ultimately, the court deemed Cosby to be a predator who was a safety risk to women. He was convicted of “indecent assault”, and was given a 3 to 10 year prison sentence, to be served at SCI Phoenix in Pennsylvania.
Bill Cosby in Prison
With Bill Cosby officially convicted, it seemed that justice had been served. Behind bars, however, Bill Cosby’s story kept getting worse.
As COVID-19 spread throughout the world, Cosby, in his 80s, decided to confine himself to his cell to minimize any risk of catching the virus. This meant he was not showering and had little to no social interaction. Furthermore, Cosby was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition. According to sources, he is now completely blind.
Given his declining health, Cosby’s lawyers tried to get him released from prison early so that he could escape the threats of the Coronavirus. While the Governor of Pennsylvania granted temporary release for “vulnerable inmates”, sex offenders were not eligible for the same priveleges. Therefore, Cosby has remained in prison throughout the pandemic.
This means that Cosby’s only opportunity to be released from prison was on parole. Ordinarily, attending a parole hearing with good behavior and an apologetic statement can help an individual get parole and an earlier release. Shockingly, Bill Cosby had no plan to do such a thing.
Firmly sticking to his story, Cosby said he refuses to show any remorse when he’s up for parole. He insists that no one else was present during his alleged assault, and therefore, they don’t know what really happened. By refusing to show remorse and apologizing to his victims, Cosby is willingly making a decision that could jeopardize his chances of an early release. However, it seems he would rather serve his full 10-year sentence than acknowledge any sort of wrongdoing.
As it turned out, Cosby never had a chance for parole anyways. In order to be eligible for parole, he had to participate in the sex offender programs while serving in prison. He refused to participate in these programs, as he believed they would be a sign of remorse or guilt. By not participating, he was displaying his belief that he was innocent of the charges brought against him.
After these events, it seemed likely that Bill Cosby would serve his entire prison sentence – or due to his declining health, live out the remainder of his years behind bars. But, all that changed when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned their previous ruling.
Bill Cosby’s Conviction Overturned
Bill Cosby had multiple criminal trials related to various sexual assault allegations. In one of these trials, the presiding Judge reached a “non-prosecution agreement”. Under these terms, the judge decided that Bill Cosby would not be prosecuted for the allegations against him. However, the most important part of this agreement is that it also barred the case from trial again in the future. Ultimately, the documented non-prosecution agreement gave Bill Cosby permanent protection from standing trial for the sexual assault allegations.
The problem is, this information was not communicated during the trial that ultimately ended in Cosby’s conviction and arrest. Without any knowledge of the non-prosecution agreement, a new prosecutor arrested Bill Cosby after new evidence came out against him. As it turns out, this arrest was illegitimate because of the previous agreement.
Bill Cosby’s lawyers have been challenging the arrest for years, and eventually found documented evidence that this non-prosecution agreement was made. Upon receiving this information in court, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found it to be legitimate, meaning that Bill Cosby could not be charged for the crimes he was convicted of. Therefore, the court immediately overturned their previous ruling, granting Bill Cosby an immediate release from prison.
The Public Response
After countless accusers have come forward with similar allegations against Bill Cosby, it’s needless to say that there are many people who oppose the court’s decision. After all, Bill Cosby was the first Hollywood icon to be successfully convicted for his alleged crimes. Many people in Hollywood, particularly women, as well as sexual assault victims around the world felt that justice was finally being served.
One of the first to speak out was Amber Tamblyn, an actress known for her role on Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. As a victim of sexual assault, she not only understood what the victims experienced, but she knew some of them, too. She says that she personally knew multiple women who were assaulted by Bill Cosby, and expressed her disappointment in the court and the decision.
Actress Debra Messing, best known for her role on Will & Grace, also took to Twitter to express her thoughts. She shared that her heart was hurting for all of the victims affected by Bill Cosby, and feels both fury and horror over the decision to release him from prison.
However, not everyone is outraged about the decision. Actress Phylicia Rashad was one of the most prominent voices that spoke out in celebration of Bill Cosby’s release. Rashad played Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, the wife of Bill Cosby’s character. She tweeted that with Cosby’s release, a terrible wrong was finally being made right, which was accompanied by a picture of Cosby.
What’s Next for Bill Cosby
Although Bill Cosby has yet to make a statement, his lawyers insist that he is in strong spirits and excellent health, despite his blindness. Upon release from prison, he was driven home for the first time in nearly 3 years. He was seen smiling and waving from his car as he drove away. It is expected for Cosby to make an appearance alongside his lawyers soon, but sources say that Cosby requested to shower and nap before making any appearances.
Although he is no longer behind bars, there is still huge outrage surrounding Bill Cosby’s actions. Due to his non-prosecution agreement and the outcome of previous court cases, he can no longer be tried in court for previous sexual assault allegations. Additionally, most of the accusers who came forward with allegations cited events in the 70s and 80s. The statute of limitations for these crimes is only 12 years, so Bill Cosby can now only be convicted for new allegations regarding events that occurred within the last 12 years. This means that Cosby may be a free man for the rest of his life.
However, Cosby’s lawyers aren’t satisfied yet. Given that his arrest should not have happened due to the non-prosecution agreement, they claim that he was wrongfully arrested. In many states, victims of wrongful convictions are eligible to be paid as much as $50,000 per year they spent incarcerated. Previously, Pennsylvania was not a state that paid wrongful conviction settlements. But, Governor Tom Wolf recently proposed wrongful conviction settlements in the 2021 budget proposal.
Bill Cosby made an estimated $400 million throughout his career, so it’s unlikely that he needs any cash settlements to get by. However, given his lawyers’ vehement opposition to his arrest, it is likely that they will pursue wrongful conviction payments for their client if possible.
Time will tell if Bill Cosby pursues any projects after his release from prison. Given his blindness and being blacklisted from Hollywood, it seems unlikely that he would be able to resume acting or comedy. However, given the backlash on his release from prison, this probably won’t be the last we hear about Bill Cosby.
Now we’d like to hear from you. After the recent events, would you like to see Bill Cosby return to television, or do you think he ruined his entertainment career for good? Let us know in the comments. If you enjoyed this video, don’t forget to click the like button. And for the latest updates on the Bill Cosby case and other pop culture, make sure you subscribe to Facts Verse and click the notification bell.