Rev. Jesse Jackson Calls For Bill Cosby Release From Prison, ‘Home And Free And Away From All Those Germs’
The Rev. Jesse Jackson wants Bill Cosby released immediately from a Pennsylvania prison, where the 83-year-old actor is serving three-to-10 years on a 2018 conviction of felony sex assault.
The state needs to look at the risks to Cosby’s health while he’s incarcerated during the coronavirus pandemic, Jackson said in an interview with the Philadelphia Tribune.
“He’s 84 and blind. Who’s he going to hurt?” the civil rights leader said. “He should be home and free and away from all of those germs.”
Jackson said he’s known the actor and comedian since 1968 and gave credit to humanitarian acts by Cosby and his wife, Camille, including donations to HBCUs and other organizations.
“He’s helped so many, many people,” Jackson said. “I’m coming forward to speak out because I believe in justice too.”
Rev. Jackson isn’t the only high-profile fan calling for Cosby’s freedom. Hip-hop artist Boosie has publicly advocated for Cosby and believes he is innocent.
“I Think They Really Trying To Kill Bill Cosby #BlackManTargeted,” Boosie tweeted on Dec. 23.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolfe has granted “temporary relief” to vulnerable inmates but excluded sex offenders, so Cosby had to remain in prison, Philadelphia Tribune reported.
Cosby spends 20 hours a day in his cell at SCI Phoenix in Collegeville and refuses to take showers to avoid catching covid-19, according to recent reports.
Cosby was convicted in April 2018 on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of his former friend, Andrea Constand, in 2004.
Cosby thanked Jackson “for his courageousness and his support” according to a statement issued Wednesday to USA Today.
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“Mr. & Mrs. Cosby are forever grateful to Reverend Jackson and his family because he has been working feverishly to get the State of PA to release Mr. Cosby, since the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, back in April,” Cosby representative Andrew Wyatt said the statement.
Cosby also thanked Boosie earlier this month for his constant support.
“I will pay homage to those who have supported me and my family, simply by saying, thank you. The first person to be recognized on Thank You Thursday is Rapper @BOOSIEOFFICIAL Thank you for your support…” Cosby tweeted.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard conflicting arguments earlier in December at a virtual hearing about whether Cosby was fairly convicted of sex crimes in 2018. Many of the seven justices seemed doubtful of the prosecution’s assertions, USA Today reported.
The court heard arguments from Cosby’s appellate lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, and two prosecutors from the office of District Attorney Kevin Steele of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, about whether Cosby’s 2018 trial was flawed by evidence and testimony that should have been excluded, and thus should be thrown out.
The court is not expected to rule for several months.
“We remain hopeful and prayerful that the PA State Supreme Court will vacate Mr. Cosby’s false imprisonment, due to Mr. Cosby having immunity,” Wyatt said. “If that’s not the case, we are hopeful and prayerful that the PA State Supreme Court will warrant Mr. Cosby a new trial.”