UPDATE, 3:30 PM PT: Bill Cosby had nothing to say in front of the cameras just over an hour ago today after his rape conviction and prison sentence was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. However, the now freed and much-accused actor, or someone in his camp, just took to social media to speak out.
In a strident and distinctly heavy handed tweet, the man one praised as “America’s Dad” took a self praising digital victory lap.
I have never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence.
Thank you to all my fans, supporters and friends who stood by me through this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law. #BillCosby pic.twitter.com/bxELvJWDe5
— Bill Cosby (@BillCosby) June 30, 2021
Noticeably, with an appropriated raised fist, Cosby had nothing to say about Andrea Constand, the Temple University employee he was convicted for the 2004 rape of. Nor did the 83-year old have anything to offer any of the more than 60 woman who have claimed he assaulted or drugged them over the decades – a M.O. that Cosby admitted in a 2005 deposition.
Cosby may have been oddly silent at his own press conference earlier Wednesday, which was mainly monologues from his defense team. Yet, despite the wide spread media clamor, the actor did speak briefly off camera to CBS Evening News’ Jericka Duncan in his bedroom, as the correspondent detailed on tonight’s broadcast:
EXCLUSIVE: Bill Cosby says his overturned sexual assault conviction sends a message around the world, @Jerickaduncan reports after she spoke with Cosby inside his home following his release from prison. pic.twitter.com/nVxJ7JYaAK
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) June 30, 2021
PREVIOUSLY, 2:07 PM PT: Surrounded by his legal team, a frail Bill Cosby had nothing to say today about his sudden release from incarceration and overturned rape conviction.
With Richard Nixon and James Brown referencing comments from his long-time spokesman Andrew Wyatt and his lawyers, the non-remarks by the much-accused man once known as “America’s Dad” come mere hours after Cosby walked out of a state prison. Earlier Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated Cosby’s sentence for the 2004 rape of Andrea Constand.
In what was billed as a press conference covered on all the cable news networks and cut to live on most other channels, the legally blind Cosby simply smiled as Wyatt claimed “vindication” in the rape case. “On this hot day, this is a hot verdict for us that we will forever cherish because we got one of the greatest, or the greatest entertainer alive today, Mr. Bill Cosby, this great American citizen,” Wyatt exclaimed.
When Cosby was asked directly how it felt to be home, the actor said nothing and one of his attorneys responded “he is extremely happy to be home.” The lawyer went on to add, “it’s really a blessing for him. He says his heart is just beating really fast.”
Pivoting on a technicality, the opinion by a majority of justices on the Keystone State’s top court essentially stated that the current D.A of Philadelphia adjacent Montgomery County had no standing to prosecute Cosby because the previous DA made an informal deal not to pursue criminal charges against actor in 2005. As District Attorney Kevin Steele said in a statement today, Cosby “was found guilty by a jury and now goes free on a procedural issue that is irrelevant to the facts of the crime.”
Back in 2005, then D.A. Bruce Castor’s promise to Cosby not press charges over the assault on Constand ultimately led to a multi-million-dollar settlement with the basketball coach in a civil action. Republican Castor, who was one of the lawyers defending Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial earlier this year, lost a reelection bid to Democrat Steele in 2015. Up against Pennsylvania’s elongated statute of limitations, Steele’s office arrest Cosby later that very year.
Cosby admitted in a 2005 depositions to giving Constand several Benadryl pills on the night of the alleged assault in his Philadelphia-area mansion in 2004. Still The Cosby Show creator has insisted through various investigations, two trials and the sentencing hearing that the encounter was totally consensual.
Automatically a free man after the opinion was released, the 83-year old Cosby exited Pennsylvania’s State Correctional Institution at Phoenix today after serving just over two years of what could be an sentence of up to 10 years, as designated by Judge Steven O’Neill in 2018. The stunning opinion strips Cosby of his violent sexual predator label and pretty much stops any future efforts to bring the actor back to court. With statute of limitations restrictions as well, the only avenue for appeal would be at the U.S. Supreme Court – a move that Steele’s office has given no indication they are even considering.
Denied parole as recently as a month ago, Cosby’s fight against the conviction even failed to get early release because of the coronavirus, the comedian finally secured a lifeline in June last year when Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court agreed to hear his appeal on the rape conviction.
Previously unsuccessful across various state jurisdictions to have O’Neill dismissed, the judgment reversed and to get out of prison, Cosby had taken during his incarceration to portraying himself as a de facto political prisoner and the victim of a “set-up.” When the now-incarcerated Harvey Weinstein was found guilty in early 2020 on multiple sex crime charges, Cosby spokesperson Andrew Wyatt put out a statement saying it was a “sad day in the American judicial system … that should haunt all Americans, especially wealthy and famous men.”
However, more than 60 women have claimed that Cosby drugged and assaulted them over the decades with a cocktail of pills and alcohol. A number of those women were among the onlookers at the two trials and the sentencing hearing in the fall of 2018. Also Judge O’Neill permitted D.A. Steele to have five other accusers, including ex-America’s Next Top Model judge Janice Dickinson, take the stand in the second trial and tell their stories of being assaulted by Cosby.