BILL COSBY FREED AFTER PA. HIGH COURT OVETURNS SEX ASSAULT CONVICTION
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – For the first time in nearly three years, Bill Cosby got to sleep in his own bed last night. He was freed from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out his sexual assault conviction yesterday. The court agreed with a long-standing claim by Cosby and his attorneys that the comedian should never have been tried. They claimed he had a deal with a county prosecutor that he’d never face criminal charges on former Temple University official Andrea Constand’s claim that he drugged and assaulted her in 2004. The state high court said the prosecutor’s successor should have held to the no-prosecution agreement.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Bill Cosby didn’t speak publicly yesterday after getting word his sex assault conviction was thrown out by the highest court in Pennsylvania. As his legal team spoke with reporters, he stood nearby and nodded. When he returned to his home near Philadelphia, he flashed a “victory” sign at a helicopter that hovered overhead. In a tweet released under his account, Cosby thanked his family, friends and supporters – and the court for overturning his case.
BILL COSBY: CONSTAND’S REACTION
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The woman who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault – and got a jury to convict him – is denouncing the ruling by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court to free the comedian. Andrea Constand says she is disappointed by the ruling. And she says in a statement with her lawyers she fears having the case overturned will discourage other sexual assault victims from coming forward. Meanwhile, one of Cosby’s attorneys says the decision is “justice for all Americans.” Andrew Wyatt says the ruling is not a win just for Cosby, but for “all Americans who are being treated unfairly by the judicial system.”
BILL COSBY – REACTION
NEW YORK (AP) – Reaction to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling overturning Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction, allowing him to be released from from prison:
“Mr. Cosby should never have been prosecuted for these offenses. District attorneys can’t change it up simply because of their political motivation.” – Cosby appellate lawyer Jennifer Bonjean, in an interview.
“Today’s majority decision regarding Bill Cosby is not only disappointing but of concern in that it may discourage those who seek justice for sexual assault in the criminal justice system from reporting or participating in the prosecution of the assailant or may force a victim to choose between filing either a criminal or civil action.” – Cosby accuser Andrea Constand and attorneys Dolores M. Troiani and Bebe Kivitz, in a joint statement.
“FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted – a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” – Phylicia Rashad, who starred as Cosby’s wife on “The Cosby Show,” on Instagram.
“I am furious to hear this news. I personally know women who this man drugged and raped while unconscious. Shame on the court and this decision.” – actor and activist Amber Tamblyn, on Twitter.
“When you look at what happened, the fact that a jury reached a conclusion after a trial where they heard evidence, there was nothing about the opinion today that detracted from that. I think that’s important for people like Andrea and other women who came forward.” Stewart Ryan, former lead prosecutor in the case, in an interview.
“The Cosby ruling demonstrates how failures in our criminal justice systems make accountability for sexual assault impossible. … Sexual assault, harassment and extortion happens in workplaces every day. Systems that ensure accountability for powerful abusers, protect workers and prevent agreements that shield abusers are urgently needed in entertainment and other industries.” – Anita Hill, chair of The Hollywood Commission, in a statement.
“I know many young women and men who are so Afraid to press charges against their rapist and Re traumatize themselves I am heartbroken today to hear of the news of Cosby’s release .this is sickening. My heart is with my sister survivors. We have work to do.” – actor Rosanna Arquette on Twitter.
“Certainly the optics of this are terrible. But the message has to be very clear and simple – that this was a mistake by prosecutors, a very unusual one and a technicality that is unlikely to happen again.” (hash)MeToo attorney Lisa Banks, in an interview.
“Today’s devastating decision to overturn the conviction of a man who caused so much harm, pain, and emotional trauma to so many women is a travesty and an injustice. It reminds us again of the struggle that the survivors of his predatory behavior and actions have endured to make their voice’s heard. The semblance of justice these women had in knowing Cosby was convicted has been completely erased with his release today.” – Time’s Up foundation CEO and president Tina Tchen, in a statement.
“WHEN will things get better for women and girls regarding sexual assault, sexism, misogyny and ageism? What will it take? So discouraged.” -Kathy Griffin on Twitter.
“To every woman who was sexual assaulted by (hash)BillCosby my heart hurts for you today and I am full fury. It’s horrifying.” – actor Debra Messing on Twitter.
“All the smoke should be pointed squarely at the prosecutor’s office in the (hash)Cosby case for making that colossal error.” – former NFL player Damien Woody on Twitter.
JAMES FRANCO REACHES $2.2 MILLION SETTLEMENT IN (hash)METOO CASE
LOS ANGELES (AP) – James Franco and his co-defendants have agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle a lawsuit from a (hash)MeToo allegation. The money in the class-action suit goes to those who claim that while at Franco’s acting school, they were urged to record explicit sex scenes, scenes far too raunchy for a typical Hollywood set. The settlement was reached in February – but it took months to hash out the details. Also, this is the first mention of how much money changed hands.
ALLISON MACK SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR ROLE IN NXIVM SCANDAL
NEW YORK (AP) – Allison Mack has been sentenced to three years in prison for being part of a scandal-ridden, cult-like group that preyed on women. The former star of the TV series “Smallville” had been charged with manipulating women into become sex slaves for the spiritual leader of NXIVM (NEX’-ee-um). Mack pleaded guilty to the charges against her – and helped prosecutors build their case against Keith Raniere (ruh-NEER’-ee), who was sentenced last year to 120 years in prison.
JOSH DUGGAR CHILD PORN TRIAL MOVED TO NOVEMBER
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) – The child pornography trial of ex-reality TV star Josh Duggar has been delayed. A judge in Arkansas has moved it back to November. It was to begin next week. Duggar was indicted in April on charges he downloaded and possessed child porn, some of which prosecutors say showed sexual abuse of toddlers. Duggar was on TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” until it was yanked from the network in 2015. That move came after news got out that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter.