After having been originally convicted of sexual assault in 2018 and sentenced to three- to 10-year at a state prison near his hometown of Philadelphia, PA, Bill Cosby has been released from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday made the decision to overturned the comedian’s conviction
According to the court, the decision to free the man once dubbed “America’s Dad” came as a result of finding that the case’s current prosecutor violated “an agreement with a previous prosecutor”, which would have seen him provide testimony in the civil case filed against him by Andrea Constand, in exchange for protection “from being [criminally] charged”.
While the sentence originally dictated that the actor should serve a maximum of three-to-10 years, Cosby himself actually vowed to serve all 10 years instead of showing remorse for a crime that he claims didn’t commit. However, with the overturning of which Cosby has been released after spending only a little over two years in a PA state prison.
Constand, Cosby’s first accuser, previously claimed that the disgraced comedian had drugged and violated her in 2004, though she didn’t come forward with her story until 2018. Conversely, Cosby has continually maintained that the encounter with Constand was consensual.
Eventually, over 60 women have accused the former stand-up comedian of sexual assault, though Cosby was only charged for the assault of Constand, as the other cases’ statute of limitations had expired by the time his victims moved to take legal action against him.
Breitbart notes that Cosby’s lawyers had also “argued that five women should not have been allowed to give evidence at his trial as witnesses,” adding that “decades-old” allegations that were not part of the original charges had led the jury to develop their own preconceived prejudices about the case.
The comedian’s legal team also argued that “it was ‘fundamentally unfair’ that deposition testimony Cosby gave in a civil case regarding his use of sedative drugs and his sexual behaviors in the 1970s was heard in court.”
Not only that, but they also asserted that the comedian believed, as part of his deal with the former prosecutor, that he was immune from prosecution at the time he admitted to having given multiple women the now-banned party drug Quaalude back in the 1970s in service of having sexual relations with them.
In the wake of his official release from prison, Cosby’s The Cosby Show co-star Phylicia Rashad took to Twitter to show support for her former on-screen husband, issuing a tweet that has unsurprisingly backfired on the actress.
“FINALLY!!!!” Rasha tweeted on June 30th, disabling comments on her post upon its publication. “A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!”
Shortly after sharing her initial tweet, and in classic “damage control” fashion, the actress followed up her initial message with one voicing support for victims of sexual assault.
“I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward,” read Rashad’s second tweet on the topic. “My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth. Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.”
However, disgruntled Twitter users did not take kindly to Rashad’s support for Bill Cosby, and proceeded to flood the replies of the actress’ second tweet to express their discontent with her statements.
Twitter user @TShetaar2019 made it very clear that it was “60 women” who came forward to accuse Bill Cosby of sexual assault.
Author Tony Ponsnanski wrote, “You support rapists. It was made clear in your previous tweet,” and added, “everything else you say now is just noise.”
“You told 60 survivors of sexual assault that their pain didn’t matter by cheering the fact that their attacker was freed on a technicality,” expressed user @NikkiBrinksCO. “That’s not support or wishing them healing.”
Similarly calling out Rashad’s contradictory tweets, LA-based PR executive Danny Deraney wrote, “You cannot root for the rapist and the victim.”
“60 women came forward and yet that was not enough for you. Sixty!” he then exclaimed. “Would you like to sit with some of the victims and tell them about your happiness that he was released? I can hook you up.”
“I think that if you were a survivor of assault you would have never posted that about the man that assaulted you,” said @ChristyMillerD. “This is why you are getting the backlash that you are. I always liked you. But, as a victim / survivor, I just lost all my respect for you.”
@smc429 prefaced her tweet to Rasha, “Dear Phylicia”, before going on to declare “The fact that you CELEBRATED the release of a rapist due to a technicality has sealed your fate.”
“You only regret the comment you made because you miscalculated the incoming s***storm that took place as a result of your irresponsible words,” asserted @smc429. “See ya.”
“no the f*** it ain’t your heartfelt wish Ms. Rashad,” wrote author and social activist Tiq Milan. “You applauded your rapist a** friend being released from jail. Healing looks like justice. Your friend drugged and abused over 50 WOMEN. I’m so disappointed. smh.”
“I’m sorry… what?!” wondered film producer Shaun Obanion, whose more was allegedly one of Cosby’s victims.
“You publicly applauded the release of the man who raped Andrea (and so many other women – including my mother) and now claim that your ignorant tweet wasn’t ‘meant to be insensitive’? You must be joking,” said Obanion. “You can keep your bulls*** ‘heartfelt’ wish.”
@thediva1975 told the actress, “The level of disgust I have right now is overwhelming.”
“Right now there is a Howard Fine Arts student who has spent the entire summer trying to decide whether to file a complaint on their rapist when they return to campus and they see this from their new dean,” she noted, alluding to the academic role that Phylicia Rashad plays at Howard Fine Arts.
“Yet you just celebrated a multiple rapist and sexual predator being set free on a technicality,” said Buzzfeed writer Mike Williams. “Jesus Christ, you’re making this *even* worse.”
What do you make of Cosby being released from prison before serving the 10 years he initially vowed to? What are your opinions on the backlash that the comedian’s co-star Phylicia Rashad is currently facing for supporting Bill Cosby? Let us know in the comments section down below or on social media!