Bill Cosby is speaking out after being released from prison.
Taking to Twitter Wednesday after his sexual assault conviction was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Cosby wrote, “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 rules of law.”
With his statement, the former Cosby Show star shared an old photograph of himself with his eyes closed and first raised.
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
Cosby was arrested in 2015, following his deposition in a lawsuit brought by accuser and Temple University sports administrator Andrea Constand. In his deposition, Cosby admitted to giving Constand Benadryl and giving quaaludes to other women with whom he wanted to have sex. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated that District Attorney Kevin Steele, who made the decision to arrest Cosby, was obligated to stand by a promise not to charge the actor, which was made so Cosby wouldn’t plead the fifth in Constand’s civil suit. The Court decided that a “non-prosecution agreement” should have prevented Cosby from being charged in a case.
After being released, the 83-year-old, who is the first celebrity tried and convicted in the #MeToo era, returned to his Philadelphia home after serving nearly three years of his up to 10-year sentence for drugging and violating Constand in 2004.
During a news conference, his lawyer Jennifer Bonjean said, “We are thrilled to have Mr. Cosby home. He served three years of an unjust sentence and he did it with dignity and principle.”
Cosby’s release proved to be a shocking decision, leading many in the entertainment and media industry to react and express their surprise and anger.
In a statement obtained by the Associated Press, Constand and her lawyers called the ruling disappointing and expressed fear that it could discourage sexual assault victims from coming forward. “We urge all victims to have their voices heard,” they said.
During a Zoom conference, Attorney Gloria Allred, who represented a number of Cosby accusers, said, “This must be devastating to many of the accusers, and my heart goes out to those who bravely testified in both of his criminal cases.”
Meanwhile, Cosby’s former The Cosby Show co-star Phylicia Rashād shared support for the comic writing, “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted — a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” After receiving backlash, Rashād issued a new statement in which she clarified, “I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth. Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.”