Bill Cosby is in such poor health that he “will not survive COVID-19,” and should be released from prison, a rep for the comedian said in a statement Saturday night.
The statement said Cosby is now “100% blind,” has high blood pressure, and needed two major surgeries last year.
“Bill Cosby was forced to have two major surgeries in-order to sustain his life (prevent him from having a stroke and/or heart attack),” the statement said. “During a visit to the infirmary at SCI-Phoenix for high blood pressure issues, Mr. Cosby was informed that the carotid arteries on the right and left side of his neck had 90% blockage due to plaque build-up … Those surgeries were done separately and they were successful. Mr. Cosby now takes medication for high blood pressure and he is 100% blind from glaucoma.”
Cosby’s rep also noted that COVID-19 disproportionately affects African Americans, and called on Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to intervene on Cosby’s behalf.
“Covid-19 has been deadly to more Blacks and people of color than any other race; and Covid-19 is deadly to those individuals that are in an environment which prevents any form of Social Distancing (Prisons, Schools, Nursing Homes, etc…),” the statement said. “Mr. Cosby was not given a life sentence nor a death sentence, so we are requesting that Gov. Wolf use his gubernatorial powers to show compassion to another human being, Bill Cosby.”
Cosby’s latest plea for early release was immediately rejected by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. “Inmate Cosby is not eligible for a reprieve by the governor” because of his sex offender status, the department said Saturday.
The Cosby Show star was convicted in 2018, and is serving three to 10 years in a Pennsylvania state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting a former Temple University employee at his home in 2004.
The Pennsylvania corrections system says on its website that it is has “begun reducing the population where they can” to better manage the COVID-19 crisis. Other measures include quarantining inmates.
“Inmates will be fed in their cells, and they will be afforded out-of-cell time for video visits, phone calls, access to the law library, as well as being provided with in-cell programming,” the DOC said.