Bill Cosby, already behind bars in Pennsylvania for over a year and a half for the 2004 rape of Andrea Constand, won’t be getting an early release anytime soon despite the state’s plan to release some convicts to reduce further spread of the coronavirus.
“Mr. Cosby is not eligible for release under Gov. Wolf’s order since he was convicted of a violent offense (aggravated indecent assault) and was deemed a Sexually Violent Predator,” Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Kate Delano said Thursday as some inmates began being released. “So for both of those reasons, he would not be eligible to be released.”
Despite the ongoing desire of Cosby’s representatives to see the man once known as “America’s Dad” back in his suburban Philadelphia home, the Keystone State’s Department of Corrections also confirmed what the office of the D.A. who put him away asserted. “Based on the criteria exempting sex offenders and knowing his highly publicized case he would not qualify,” a DOC spokesperson told Deadline on Thursday.
Found guilty in an April 2018 retrial and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison in September of that year, the widely accused Cosby has attempted several times to get the case for the sexual assault of the ex-Temple University employee tossed, appealed or the judgment reversed. Late last month, Cosby’s team said they “were exploring all legal actions” to have their 82-year old client released as states all over the stay-at-home nation are letting out imprisoned senior prisoners and others with relevant status or at risk for COVID-19.
Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed orders for prisoners to be let out after issuing an executive order April 10. The legally blind Cosby is housed at the State Correctional Institution at Phoenix, which has nearly 20 inmates with confirmed coronavirus cases. Today, mere days after the first COVID-19 related inmate death at SCI Phoenix, nine prisoners at the facility were released as concerns rise of more infections to come. Cosby was not among them.
“What you heard is absolutely correct,” the comedian’s longtime publicist and crisis manager Andrew Wyatt admitted to Deadline today of Cosby’s status and how that renders him ineligible for the governor’s Temporary Program to Reprieve Sentences of Incarceration. “But, with the surge of the COVID-19 plague and its effects on the health of the elderly, people of color and the fact that Mr. Cosby doesn’t have the luxury of social distancing (due to his blindness) — makes him a candidate to be release and remanded to house arrest,” Wyatt added.
Earlier Thursday, Wyatt released a statement proclaiming “our legal team will not be filing a petition, until we see how Governor Wolf’s executive order will be implemented.”