The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the indecent assault conviction of Bill Cosby.
The court ordered his release from prison after finding he was denied protection against self-incrimination.
A prosecutor's decision not to charge Cosby, opened the door for him to speak freely in a lawsuit against him, which was key in his conviction. Cosby was convicted on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault of drugging and assaulting a woman in 2004, and was serving a three- to 10-year sentence, of which he served nearly three years of the sentence.
Cosby cannot be retried on the same charges.
"When an unconditional charging decision is made publicly and with the intent to induce action and reliance by the defendant, and when the defendant does so to his detriment (and in some instances upon the advice of counsel), denying the defendant the benefit of that decision is an affront to fundamental fairness," according to the high court opinion authored by Justice David Wecht. "For these reasons, Cosby’s convictions and judgment of sentence are vacated, and he is discharged."
The prosecution of Cosby was one of the first major milestones of the #MeToo movement, as women came forward on unwanted sexual advances and harassment in the workplace.
"This is the justice Mr. Cosby has been fighting for," Cosby’s spokesman Andrew Wyatt said in a statement. "They saw the light. He waived his Fifth Amendment right and settled out of court. He was given a deal and he had immunity. He should have never been charged."
Cosby was released from the SCI Phoenix detention center and was driven to his home Elkins Park, which is about 25 miles southeast of the prison.
“He was found guilty by a jury and now goes free on a procedural issue that is irrelevant to the facts of the crime,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said. “I want to commend Cosby’s victim Andrea Constand for her bravery in coming forward and remaining steadfast throughout this long ordeal, as well as all of the other women who have shared similar experiences. My hope is that this decision will not dampen the reporting of sexual assaults by victims.”