Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, citing prosecutorial mistakes, overturned the sexual assault conviction of Bill Cosby on Wednesday, paving the way for one of America’s best-known comedians to walk free from prison.
The court said that a prosecutor’s decision not to charge Cosby, 83, opened the door for him to speak freely in a lawsuit against him — and that testimony was key in his conviction years later by another prosecutor.
Cosby was convicted in 2018 of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004, and was serving a three- to 10-year sentence. He has served two years of the sentence.
The state Supreme Court said Cosby cannot be retried on the same charges.
“When an unconditional charging decision is made publicly and with the intent to induce action and reliance by the defendant, and when the defendant does so to his detriment (and in some instances upon the advice of counsel), denying the defendant the benefit of that decision is an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was foregone for more than a decade,” the high court ruled.
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