Agreement not to prosecute Cosby leads to his freedom, exposes prosecution's missteps




Bill Cosby’s criminal conviction has been overturned and he has been released from prison. In 2018, Mr. Cosby was found guilty on three counts of felony indecent assault against Andrea Constand. Dozens of women have publicly accused Mr. Cosby of sexual assault, but he was only tried criminally for actions against Ms. Constand.


In a verdict issued on Wednesday, Pennsylvania's highest court found there was a "process violation" because Mr. Cosby's lawyers had made an agreement with a previous state prosecutor that he would not be charged in the case. The ruling drew on the fact that Cosby, 83, had waived his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by agreeing to testify in a previous civil case brought by his accuser, Ms. Constand, which the justices said was evidence that he didn't think he would be criminally charged.


Lisa Bloom, an attorney who represents three women who have accused the married comedian of misconduct, put a fine point on what the court had decided, tweeting that "he is not released because he is innocent. He is released because a prosecutor promised him years ago that he would not be brought to justice, without even making a deal for him to do time."


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