Disgraced Hollywood icon Bill Cosby is a free man, released from prison on June 30 due to a prosecutorial trial error, and it seems nearly everyone has something to say about America’s former favorite dad getting sprung.
Cosby, 83, served two years of a three-to-10-year sentence for drugging and molesting Andrea Constand in 2004.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Cosby’s sexual assault conviction, ruling that prosecutors violated his Fifth Amendment rights by using evidence from past statements in which he acknowledged that he obtained quaaludes to sedate women. A prosecutor told Cosby his statements would not be used as evidence against him, The Washington Post reported.
At the time of the trial, there were sexual assault allegations from 60 women, most of whom accused Cosby of attempting to drug them before sexually assaulting them.
Here are the 25 top quotes on the Bill Cosby case and whether justice was served.
Actor and educator Phylicia Rashad, now dean of HBCU Howard University’s College of Fine Arts and Cosby’s longtime co-host on “The Cosby Show,” celebrated Cosby’s release with a tweet. She said, “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” Rashad has since taken down the tweet following major backlash and Howard’s disavowal of her words.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, who took the case against Cosby to trial, commented about the court vacating Bill Cosby’s sentence in a press statement. “He was found guilty by a jury and now goes free on a procedural issue that is irrelevant to the facts of the crime,” ABC News reported.
In a statement, Steele said Cosby went free “on a procedural issue that is irrelevant to the facts of the crime.” He commended Constand for coming forward and added, “My hope is that this decision will not dampen the reporting of sexual assaults by victims,” Market Watch reported.
“When I come up for parole, they’re not going to hear me say that I have remorse,” actor-comedian Cosby told Rolling Stone in a phone interview from prison in 2019.
Cosby was tried and convicted without solid evidence, no police reports or medical records, no collaborating witnesses, just the accusations of women from events that allegedly occurred 30 years ago, according to Bob Law, the chairman of the National Black Leadership Alliance, The Atlanta Voice reported.
“And that is in opposition to the legal principle that the accuser cannot bring the action and also be the witness without any collaborating evidence,” Law said in a letter to NNPA Newswire and Black Press USA. The letter was endorsed by Bill Grace, the founder of the WEB Dubois Learning Center in Kansas City, Mo., and Marcia Harris of the nonprofit Empower to Educate in Hackensack, N.J., among others.
“The Cosby jury verdict is being heralded as a great milestone in justice for women accusers … but the problem is that the judge in the case rigged the trial to ensure that Cosby would be convicted,” said International Rights attorney John Davis, who writes about gender issues and practices in the South of France, in an Atlantic Star interview.
Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan in 2018 came to Cosby’s defense. In a videotaped speech before NOI members, Farrakhan spoke of women who throw themselves on willing celebrity men. “Bill Cosby admitted (to succumbing to) the culture of Hollywood, the culture of stardom in America the culture when you’re a star …” women attempt to seduce you, Farrakhan said.
Farrakhan, however, added that he did not approve of sexual assault. “I cannot defend taken from a woman what a woman does not wish to give…”
Scholar and political analyst D.r Boyce Watkins tweeted, “The #billcosby case strikes a chord because so many #blackpeople can relate to it.”
Watkins tweeted this along with audio of his podcast, “AllBlackEconomics.com,” that aired during the time allegations were being made against Cosby. At that time, Watkins said, “When you are Black man and you have that kind of money, you’re especially vulnerable because people know they can accuse you of things and people will believe them just because you’re Black.”
“My stomach is lurching and I am deeply distressed about the injustice of the whole thing,” she said. “He’s a sociopath. He’s a serial rapist. … This is a man who has no conscience. He has no sense of remorse.”
In 2018 at Cosby’s sentencing, his spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, said the trial had been the “most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States,” AL.com reported.
He added, “They persecuted Jesus and look what happened. I’m not saying Mr. Cosby is Jesus, but we know what this country has done to black men for centuries.”
“The false conviction of Bill Cosby is so much bigger than him — it’s about the destruction of ALL Black people and people of color in America,” Wyatt said in 2020 when the court accept Cosby’s appeal, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
“It would be naïve to assume that his prosecution was not tainted by the same racial bias that pervades the criminal justice process in both explicit and insidious ways,” said Jennifer Bonjean, one of criminal lawyers working on Cosby’s case, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
Throughout the entire ordeal, Camille Cosby kept quiet and out of sight. She has only said one thing, according to The Columbus Dispatch. “We know how women can lie” Camille Cosby said.
According to the deposition Cosby gave over a decade ago as part of a lawsuit filed by accuser Constand, he apologized to her mother, CBS News reported.
“I apologized to this woman. But my apology was, my God, I’m in trouble with these people because this is an old man and their young daughter and the mother sees this,” he said.
In their appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Cosby’s lawyers said there were various trial errors.
According to Cosby’s legal team, trial Judge Steven O’Neill had a feud with a pretrial witness, the ex-prosecutor who had declined to charge Cosby in 2005. And they claimed O’Neill’s decisions — to serve on the case, allow five other accusers to testify, air Cosby’s prior deposition testimony about quaaludes, and dismiss the ex-prosecutor’s promise not to charge Cosby — are mistakes that warrant a new trial, AP reported.
“The trial court erred in failing to disclose his bias against District Attorney (Bruce) Castor, and in failing to recuse himself, prior to determining (his) credibility,” one of Cosby’s lawyer Brian Perry wrote in the appeal filings.
Actress Aisha Tyler tweeted: “THE FUCK IS THIS BULLSHIT,” The Hollywood Reporter reported.
Hip-hop mogul 50 Cent expressed excitement on social media over the court’s decision to free Cosby. However, 50 later deleted his Instagram post.
“My son Bill beat that case, These h*es be tripping,” XXL reported.
“YALL DONT JOIN BILL COSBY TEAM NOW YALL WAS CLOWNING ME AT FIRST #fakeassworld #billfree THEM HOES LYIN #facts,” he tweeted, The Source.
Then, on Instagram, Boosie said in a video post, “Got the news, Bill Cosby free. Welcome home, Bill boy, from Boosie BadAzz. Fuck you mean, man? God don’t sleep. Yeah. Corona here, y’all still ain’t wanna let the man out of jail. God don’t sleep, man. Free Bill Cosby, man. Bet that, man. Yeah. Free Bill, man. Told y’all.”
Hip-hop legend/actor Ice-T tweeted, “Oh shit, Bill cosy might be touching back down on the bricks…Hopt Boy Summer.”
Hip-hop artist Kid Cudi tweeted, “People that are celebrating Bill Cosby being released are fuckin idiots.”
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court explained its decision to overturn Cosby’s 2018 conviction based on prosecutors’ 2005 agreement with Cosby that his drugging admission would not be used against him.
“Denying the defendant the benefit of that decision is an affront to fundamental fairness,” the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said. “Particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was foregone for more than a decade.”
The court added that justice and “fair play and decency” require that the district attorney’s office stand by the decision of the previous DA, Market Watch reported.
The justices in Pennsylvania’s highest court said that overturning the conviction and barring any further prosecution “is the only remedy that comports with society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system,” Market Watch reported.
In his 2005 deposition, Cosby acknowledged giving quaaludes to a 19-year-old woman before having sex with her at a Las Vegas hotel in 1976, Market Watch reported.
The woman, Therese Serignese, now 64, said the court ruling “takes my breath away.”
“I just think it’s a miscarriage of justice,” Serignese said. “This is about the procedure. It’s not about the truth of the women.” Serignese said she was comforted by the fact Cosby served nearly three years behind bars. “That’s as good as it gets in America” for sex crime victims.
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“I’ve been dealing with Mr. Cosby on a regular basis for over two years, and he has never been anything but positive,” said Brian W. Perry, one of Cosby’s lawyers. “He always believed this would be the outcome,” The Washington Post reported.
“We still believe that no one is above the law — including those who are rich, famous and powerful,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele.
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