The highest court in Pennsylvania reversed the sexual assault conviction against veteran comedian Bill Cosby on Wednesday, allowing the 83-year-old to return to his home. Cosby was released after the court ruled that he shouldn’t have been convicted because the prosecutor who brought the case was bound by a non-prosecution deal agreed upon by the previous district attorney.
Cosby—who has served more than two years out of a maximum ten year sentence—was convicted in 2018 of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Temple University employee Andrea Constand. Almost sixty women have accused Cosby of rape, drug-assisted sexual assault and child sexual abuse, and his conviction was hailed as a rare victory in the fight for justice for sexual assault survivors. But now that conviction has been overturned, and due to the statute of limitations, he is unlikely to face other charges.
Montgomery County district attorney Kevin Steele issued a statement saying that Wednesday’s proceedings were not based on the facts of the case which were presented in front of a jury that found Cosby guilty.
“My hope is that this decision will not dampen the reporting of sexual assaults by victims,” he said. We still believe that no one is above the law—including those who are rich, famous and powerful.”
Cosby was so popular he was often referred to as “America’s Dad” prior to the accusations, and his case became a rallying cry for the #MeToo movement. The news that he had been set free was met with anger, disappointment and outrage, with many comedians and other public figures calling it a failure of the justice system.