On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Cosby’s sex assault conviction after finding an agreement with a previous prosecutor prevented him from being charged in the case.
The Court said that testimony tainted the trial, even though a lower appeal court had found it appropriate to show a signature pattern of drugging and molesting women.
The American comedian and actor, 83, served nearly three years of a three-to 10-year sentence after being found guilty of drugging and violating Temple University sports administrator Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.
He was charged in late 2015 when a prosecutor armed with newly unsealed evidence Cosby’s damaging deposition from her lawsuit arrested him days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired.
The trial judge had allowed just one other accuser to testify at Cosby’s first trial, when the jury deadlocked. However, he then allowed five other accusers to testify at the retrial about their experiences with Cosby in the 1980s.
Cosby was the first celebrity tried and convicted in the #MeToo era, so the reversal could make prosecutors wary of calling other accusers in similar cases. The law on prior bad act testimony varies by state, though, and the ruling only holds sway in Pennsylvania.
In the video below, Bill Cosby was seen happily arriving at his home in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania following his release from prison.