(CMR) The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overturned the indecent assault conviction of Bill Cosby and ordered his release from prison after the actor served almost three years of a 10-year sentence.
The conviction was overturned on Wednesday on the basis that Cosby was denied protection against self-incrimination.
The court said that former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor Jr.'s decision not to charge Cosby, 83, in an earlier case opened the door for him to speak freely in a lawsuit against him, thinking he would not incriminate himself criminally. The lawsuit testimony was a key part of his conviction in the 2018 criminal trial and conviction.
Cosby was convicted on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault in 2018 of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004.
Constand first reported the alleged encounter in 2005 to Castor, who decided not to pursue charges in the case, noting it took her a year to come forward and saying there were inconsistencies in her case, the New York Post reported.
Constand then sued Cosby in civil court weeks later, and the case was settled for an undisclosed sum.
The Supreme Court said Cosby cannot be retried on the same charges.
According to NBC, Cosby’s spokesman Andrew Wyatt thanked the comedian's legal team and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, calling Wednesday's ruling a moment of justice for Black Americans.
“This is the justice Mr. Cosby has been fighting for,” Wyatt said in a statement. “They saw the light. He waived his Fifth Amendment right and settled out of court. He was given a deal, and he had immunity. He should have never been charged.”