NewsConviction invalidated: Bill Cosby leaves prison

Conviction invalidated: Bill Cosby leaves prison

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the former actor’s conviction of sexual abuse void.

New York – Former actor Bill Cosby, convicted of sexually abusing a woman in 2018 and accused of sexual abuse by countless others, is released again. The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court ruled the criminal case against Cosby on Wednesday (June 30, 2021) invalid and ordered the 83-year-old’s release from prison.

After the first allegations of abuse against Cosby became known, more than 60 women had raised allegations against the former television star, who had become internationally known in the 80s with the “Bill Cosby Show”. Many cases were barred by the statute of limitations so that no lawsuit could be brought. Still, Cosby had become the first celebrity convicted of sexual abuse since the #MeToo movement began worldwide. In three cases, the court found Cosby drugged and wronged his victims in his Philadelphia home. He was sentenced to a minimum of three and a maximum of ten years in prison.

Schauspieler Bill Cosby nach seiner Verurteilung wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs im April 2018.


Actor Bill Cosby following his sexual abuse conviction in April 2018.

Bill Cosby can leave prison for procedural misconduct

For these cases, however, the case law in the USA has now established alleged procedural errors and therefore declared the conviction to be invalid. The justification of the judges: The investigating public prosecutor at the time would have promised after the uncovering of the allegations in 2005 not to initiate a criminal case against Cosby if the latter testified in a civil case for compensation. As a result, the prosecutor’s successor later initiated criminal proceedings in which statements from Cosby’s civil proceedings were used against him. It was also criticized that five women should not have been heard as witnesses in the process.

The earliest incidents of sexual abuse, for which Cosby has now been accused by dozens of women, date back to the 1960s, when Cosby was just beginning his career. Some of the women who made allegations against Cosby were minors at the time of the alleged incidents. (ska / dpa)

Headline image: © Mark Makela / AFP

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