Court overturns Bill Cosby’s sex assault conviction, bars further prosecution

FILE – In this Sept. 25, 2018, file photo, Bill Cosby arrives for a sentencing hearing following his sexual assault conviction at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown Pa. Cosby has been denied parole, Thursday, May 27, 2021, after refusing to participate in sex offender programs during his nearly three years in state prison in Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

[CNBC] Bill Cosby’s sex assault conviction will be overturned and the 83-year-old comedian will be released from prison after the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court issued an opinion to vacate his conviction Wednesday.

Pennsylvania’s highest court overturned the conviction after finding an agreement with a previous prosecutor prevented Cosby from being charged in the case.

The Supreme Court reviewed two aspects of the case that Cosby’s lawyers challenged. The first involved the judge’s decision to let prosecutors call five other accusers in addition to Andrea Constand.

Cosby had been accused of drugging and molesting Constand at his estate in 2004. He was charged in 2015 for the alleged attack and arrested just days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired.

Originally, the trial judge had allowed just one other accuser to testify at Cosby’s first trial. However, after the jury deadlocked, the judge then allowed five other accusers to testify at Cosby’s retrial.

This testimony tainted the trail, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said, even though the lower appeals court had found it appropriate to show a pattern of behavior.

The Supreme Court also reviewed Cosby’s argument that he had an agreement with a former prosecutor that he would never be charged.