The highest court in Pennsylvania has overturned disgraced comedian Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction. Cosby, who was known as “America’s Dad” thanks to his role in the popular 80’s sitcom The Cosby Show, had been sentenced to three to 10 years in prison and has already served two of those years. The court’s reasoning for overturning the conviction has deep consequences for other powerful men, like Harvey Weinstein, who have faced charges in response to the #MeToo movement.
The news of Bill Cosby’s overturned conviction came early on Wednesday. Cosby had been accused of drugging and molesting Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004. Though the alleged crime took place in 2004, it wasn’t until 2015 that Cosby was arrested.
As part of the trial, several other women came forward as victims and gave their testimony about their experience with Cosby in the ’80s. At first, the trial judge only allowed one woman to share her testimony but eventually allowed the testimony of five other women in order to establish a pattern of behavior. In their finding, the justices argued that this testimony served as a character attack rather than showing a crime pattern specific to the case. Prosecutors have yet to say whether they plan to retry the case a third time. According to TMZ, Cosby’s lawyer will be picking him from prison today.
This case could make a difference in other #MeToo era sexual assault cases. The judge in disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein’s case also allowed testimony from alleged victims in 2017. The case was tried in New York, however, so it’s unclear if Cosby’s case will have any effect on Weinstein’s conviction. He is currently sentenced and serving 23 years in prison for that conviction and is also facing charges in California. The story is still ongoing. Gossip Cop will continue monitoring the situation and updating as necessary.
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