Actor and comedian Bill Cosby was released from prison on Wednesday afternoon after a Pennsylvania appeals court overturned his sexual assault conviction.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Cosby, 83, was released just before 2:30 p.m. local time.
Cosby’s release follows a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which ruled 4-3 that Cosby’s due process rights were violated to gather evidence that would ultimately secure his 2018 conviction.
In 2005, then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor had determined there was not enough evidence to convict Cosby of sexual assault against Andrea Constand, who was a Temple University employee at the time. Cosby testified in a subsequent civil suit brought by Constand after Castor told Cosby he would not charge him.
However, Risa Vetri Ferman, who succeeded Castor as Montgomery County district attorney, did not honor the previous agreement made between Castor and Cosby and used some of the evidence he gave during his testimony to file charges against him.
“When a prosecutor makes an unconditional promise of non-prosecution, and when the defendant relies upon that guarantee to the detriment of his constitutional right not to testify, the principle of fundamental fairness that undergirds due process of law in our criminal justice system demands that the promise be enforced,” said the 79-page opinion overturning his conviction.
Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault in 2018 in what was considered one of the first major convictions of the "Me Too" movement.
He had been serving a three- to 10-year prison sentence.