The surprising release of Bill Cosby is drawing strong reactions from New York to Hollywood.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Cosby’s sexual assault conviction Wednesday, saying prosecutors committed misconduct when they tried the case. In its decision Wednesday, Pennsylvania’s high court ruled a “non-prosecution agreement” struck between Cosby and former Montgomery County Dist. Atty. Bruce Castor meant the comedian should have never been charged in the case.
It appears Cosby won’t be returning to jail after the judges barred any future prosecution of the 83-year-old star. After leaving prison, Cosby flashed the V-for-victory symbol.
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As news spread that the legendary comic’s case had been overturned, reactions poured in.
“Today’s majority decision regarding Bill Cosby is not only disappointing but of concern in that it may discourage those who seek justice for sexual assault in the criminal justice system from reporting or participating in the prosecution of the assailant,” tweeted former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, whose assault allegation led to Cosby’s conviction.
The Cosby Show alum Phylicia Rashad, who played the Hollywood legend’s on-screen wife, defended her longtime friend. “A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” she posted on Twitter.
After Rashad’s comments sparked anger, she followed up hours later with a second tweet, writing: “I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth. Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.”
Other Hollywood insiders were outraged by the court’s decision.
Actress Aisha Tyler tweeted: “THE F— IS THIS BULLSHIT.”
Comedian Rosie O’Donnell added on Twitter: “I GUESS 70 WOMEN WERENT ENOUGH. F–k u Bill.”
A Pennsylvania jury found Cosby guilty on April 26, 2018, of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004.
Constand told jurors Cosby gave her three blue pills that left her unable to move before he allegedly assaulted her. The comedian, known as “America’s Dad,” served nearly three years of his three- to 10-year sentence. Cosby claimed the encounter was consensual.