Pennsylvania Supreme Court Vacates Bill Cosby’s Sex Assault Conviction

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In a bombshell turn of events, Bill Cosby is a free man. He was released from prison Wednesday afternoon after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated his conviction and judgment of sentence for sexual assault. The Court ruled that Cosby’s due process rights were violated when he was charged and convicted, because of a deal he made in 2005 with a local district attorney. The deal was that the DA, Bruce Castor, promised he would not criminally prosecute Cosby for the rape of Andrea Constand, if Cosby sat for a deposition in a civil case. That deposition, where Cosby admitted to drugging women before sexual encounters, was ultimately used against Cosby by another prosecutor in a criminal trial more than a decade later.

A jury convicted Cosby in 2018 and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Constand at his home 14 years ago.

Constand is also a former Charlotte resident. She reportedly moved here from Canada and purchased a town home on Provence Village Lane off Providence Road. Property records show it was purchased it in 2008 for $500,000. That was around the time Cosby paid her $3.8M in a civil suit settlement. During her time in the Carolinas, Constand also owned a massage clinic on East Boulevard in Dilworth which was at one time featured in a local magazine called Today Charlotte’s Woman.

People started gathering outside Cosby’s Pennsylvania home Wednesday as soon of news of his release broke. There were both supporters and critics there. 84-year-old Cosby did not speak to the crowd, but members of his defense team did.

“He just said his heart was racing. He couldn’t believe it. He said they was ringing his cell. They was just knocking on the walls, the inmates. And he said, they said, look you’re free. Get up, get up. And he was like, what are these guys talking about? he was just so excited. And when they, when i pulled in the bottom of the prison, and they wheeled him out in a wheelchair, he was, he didn’t want to leave, he wanted to continue to talk to the officers about their children and their family.”

Lots of mixed reactions from celebrities. Cosby’s former TV wife Phylicia Rashad rejoiced in his release, tweeting, “Finally! A terrible wrong is being righted, a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” Activist and actress Alyssa Milano tweeted in part, “I’m so sorry to all of his victims who are undoubtedly traumatized by this news. It’s unfair and devastating.”

Our question of the night: what do you think of Cosby’s overturned conviction?

This episode’s panel features:
WCCB TV’s Morgan Fogarty
WCCB News @ Ten anchor Drew Bollea
WCCB Sports anchor Zach Aldridge