The United States Supreme Court has declined to take up the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby, leaving in place a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to throw out his conviction and release him from prison.
Cosby was accused of drugging and assaulting Temple University sports administrator Andrea Constand at his home near Philadelphia in 2004, and in 2018, he was convicted and sentenced to three to 10 years in prison. In 2021, however, Pennsylvania’s highest court found that an agreement between the comedian and the previous prosecutor prevented him from being charged in the case. The Supreme Court — which has two justices, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh, who have themselves been accused of sexual misconduct — declined requests to hear the case and potentially reinstate Cosby’s conviction.
In 2005, Cosby was informed by then-District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. that he wouldn’t be prosecuted for an assault, which led the comedian to provide incriminating testimony in a deposition. Castor’s successor, District Attorney Kevin Steele, used the testimony to press charges against Cosby, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court concluded that Steele was obligated to stand by his predecessor’s promise.
More than 60 women have come forward with tales of being assaulted by Cosby over the years, but Constand’s experience was the only account that had not yet passed the statute of limitations. As the disgraced comedian achieved clemency, Kanye West hired his lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, to aid in his efforts to free Larry Hoover from jail, while W. Kamau Bell readied the documentary We Need to Talk About Cosby.