Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction has been overturned by a Pennsylvania court, according to the Associated Press. The AP stated that Pennsylania’s highest court ruled that Cosby’s agreement with prosecutor Bruce Castor in 2005 should have prevented him from being charged again.
Cosby was charged in 2015 and sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for raping Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia home in 2004. He was arrested just days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired on newly unsealed evidence. At his first trial in 2017, a judge at first allowed only one other accuser to testify, and the jury was not able to reach a verdict.
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However, five other accusers were allowed to testify about similar allegations to Constand’s at the 2018 retrial, which resulted in Cosby’s conviction on April 26, 2018. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled today, however, that the testimony at the trial was tainted, even though a lower court found that he showed a pattern of drugging and molesting women.
According to AP, the justices were concerned about the increasing trend of testimonies turning into character attacks, as the law only allows testimony in limited cases, including to show a crime pattern that is so specific it serves to identify the perpetrator.
So far, Cosby has served more than two years of his sentence at a state prison near Philadelphia. He has promised to serve all 10 years instead of acknowledging any remorse over the 2004 sexual assault.
William Henry Cosby Jr., who was born in Philadelphia in 1937, produced art that paved the way for America to elect a Black president. Cosby had settled a lawsuit with Constand, a Temple employee, in 2006 (it was later revealed he paid her nearly $3.4 million), and the settlement came back to haunt him throughout 2014 as dozens of women — some of whom had accused him for years, others of whom were new — came forward with allegations of Cosby drugging and raping them.
Constand had first gone to the police in 2005, but Castor — who would later be one of Donald Trump’s lawyers during his second impeachment trial — decided not to charge the famous comedian. Cosby later However, in 2015, an ambitious new district attorney of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Kevin Steel had openly criticized how the original case had been handled when he ran for DA, and when he won, he kept his word. Cosby was arrested on Dec. 30, 2015, right before the statute of limitations on her charge expired.
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