Few falls from grace were as significant as the one Bill Cosby suffered, many say justifiably. The veteran standup comedian and actor whose long-running “The Cosby Show” earned him the title of “America’s Dad.” Persistent rumors of inappropriate behavior with women that started as gossip-driven whispers grew into loud roars, particularly during the #metoo movement.
After previous mistrials, a jury convicted Cosby of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for the 2004 drugging and assault of Andrea Constrand. A judge ordered him to serve three to ten years in prison. America’s dad became prisoner no. NN7687.
Adamant in proclaiming his innocence
During his incarceration, Cosby remained resolute in claiming his innocence. He continually refused to attend sex offender programs, resulting in him being denied parole. He was adamant that he did nothing wrong and would rather serve his entire ten-year sentence than undergo help he didn’t feel was necessary.
Two years into his sentence, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated the 2018 conviction over Cosby being denied protection against self-incrimination. Cosby had been granted immunity by prosecutors reportedly to open the door for alleged victims to sue him and obtain deposition testimony during which he would not be able to assert his right to remain silent. That right only exists if there is a reasonable apprehension that speaking could incriminate you in a criminal case. With immunity, there was not supposed to be a future prosecution. Blatantly disregarding prosecutorial ethics and integrity, a newly elected Montgomery County prosecutor, Risa Ferman, went back on that promise and prosecuted Cosby. This lack of prosecutorial ethics and integrity resulted in Cosby’s conviction being overturned. Cosby was ordered to be immediately released from the SCI Phoenix Detention Center located twenty-five miles from his residence.
Was a trap set for Cosby?
Judges on the high court cited Bruce Castor, a former Montgomery County district attorney, who declined to press charges against the former television star in a previous criminal investigation. A subsequent civil action against Cosby saw him provide multiple sworn depositions, where he made several incriminating statements.
Castor’s successor, Risa Ferman, used that testimony to build their criminal case against Cosby. Even though he disagreed with vacating the conviction, justice Kevin Dougherty called it a “coercive bait-and-switch.”
Who is really at fault?
Many are pointing the finger of blame in the direction of the 83-year-old former icon that fell from grace. However, the fault should solely be on the shoulders of prosecutors. Regardless of Bill Cosby’s guilt or innocence, deception and outright misconduct lay at the feet of prosecutors, desperate for a win against one of the most recognized and controversial celebrities in the world.