Fierce

Bill Cosby Released From Prison

In 2015, New York Magazine featured its most powerful cover to date. The issue featured 35 women who had accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. They were seated together and featured alongside an additional empty chair, with a heavy implication that there were more victims.

By the time the New York article came out, 46 women had publicly come forward to accuse Bill Cosby. The 35 who made the cover were those who had been willing to be photographed and interviewed and included women in their early 20s to 80s, Playboy bunnies, journalists, supermodel Beverly Johnson and various women who’d taken part in show business for years. Ultimately, in 2018, it was the testimony of Andrea Constand, a woman who Cosby drugged and assaulted in 2004, that saw him convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

At the time, Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison, and up until this week, he was serving time.

On Wednesday, after serving a little more than two years, Cosby’s sexual assault conviction was overturned.

According to reports, “Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction has been vacated after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that an agreement he made with a previous prosecutor should have precluded him from being charged in the case, PEOPLE confirms.” The judgment, requires Cosby “be discharged [from prison], and any future prosecution on these particular charges must be barred.”

Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections verified Cosby’s prison release on Twitter.

According to the page, Cosby was released from SCI Phoenix before 2:30 p.m. ET.

Constand and five other women testified against Cosby during the trial that sent him to prison. For her part, Constand shared in an impact statement that “When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence, and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities… Now, almost 15 years later, I’m a middle-aged woman who’s been stuck in a holding pattern most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward,” she wrote. “Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature, and my trust in myself and others.”

Last month, Cosby was denied parole after rejecting requests for him to take part in a treatment program for sex offenders.

According to ABC News, “Two lower courts, including a three-judge panel of Pennsylvania Superior Court jurists, had previously refused to overturn the comedian’s conviction.”

In response to Cosby’s conviction being overturned, District Attorney Kevin R. Steele called the decision “irrelevant to the facts of the crime. I want to commend Cosby’s victim Andrea Constand for her bravery in coming forward and remaining steadfast throughout this long ordeal, as well as all of the other women who have shared similar experiences. My hope is that this decision will not dampen the reporting of sexual assaults by victims.”

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