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The Many Villains of the Cosby Case

Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse
Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
July 1, 2021

Who’s really to blame for Bill Cosby walking out of a Pennsylvania prison yesterday? I don’t mean who’s literally responsible; the 79-page ruling by the state’s supreme court not only overturned Cosby’s 2018 conviction and sentencing, the court demanded that the 83-year old rapist—yes, I can say that, he’s been convicted—be released immediately on the grounds that his constitutional rights were violated. Cosby was induced into giving incriminating testimony in the civil case brought by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand by a District Attorney who promised Cosby’s lawyers he’d never be prosecuted criminally for the same behavior. 

It’s infuriating. Sixty women came forward against Cosby, and five of them were allowed to testify in court about how America’s Dad brutalized them via a startlingly similar pattern of behavior. Criminal lawyers call these “prior bad acts.” To any reasonable person, it was one word: Guilty.