Andrea Constand Speaks Out After Bill Cosby's Sexual Assault Conviction Is Overturned

By
This video is unavailable because we were unable to load a message from our sponsors.

If you are using ad-blocking software, please disable it and reload the page.

Andrea Constand is speaking out following Bill Cosby's release from prison on Wednesday. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the 83-year-old's 2018 conviction for drugging and sexually assaulting Constand on Wednesday morning, afterwhich Cosby left the State Correctional Institution – Phoenix in Philadelphia. 

"Today's majority decision regarding Bill Cosby is not only disappointing but of concern in the that it may discourage those who seek justice for sexual assault in the criminal justice system from reporting or participating in the prosecution of the assailant or may force a victim to choose between filming either a criminal or civil action," Constand said in a joint statement with her attorneys Dolores Troiani and Bebe Kivitz. 

"On the one hand, the Court acknowledged that the former District Attorney's decision not to prosecute Mr. Cosby was not a formal immunity agreement and constituted at best a unilateral exercise of prosecutorial discretion not to prosecute at the time. The Court also acknowledged that it agreed with the lower court's credibility determinations, but nevertheless precluded a future prosecution, which included additional evidence developed in the civil case," the statement continued. "The Supreme Court acknowledged that it was bound by the lower court's credibility findings, including that Andrew Constant and her civil counsel, Dolores Troiani and Bebe Kivitz, were not privy to any discussions between the former prosecutor and Mr. Cosby or his then criminal counsel, let alone signatories to any agreement of any kind. We were not consulted or asked our thoughts by Mr. Castor concerning any agreements concerning immunity or anything, and we were not made aware if there were any such discussions. The press release had no meaning or significance to us in 2005 other than being a press release circulated by the then District Attorney." 

The statement concluded, "Once again, we remain grateful to those women who came forward to tell their stories, to DA Kevin Steele and the excellent prosecutors who achieved a conviction at trial, despite the ultimate outcome which resulted from a procedural technicality, and we urge all victims to have their voices heard. We do not intend to make any further comment."

Cosby also held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, though he did not speak. His attorney, Brian Perry, said, "We've said from day one, we just didn't think he was treated fairly. And that...the system has to be fair, and fortunately the Supreme Court agreed with us. He's happy, his wife is happy. The system only works if it's fair to all sides. That's the bottom line."

On Wednesday, the court found that an agreement Cosby had with a previous prosecutor prevented him from being charged in the case, according to documents obtained by ET. Cosby previously said that he relied on that agreement before agreeing to testify in his accuser's civil lawsuit.

The court also ruled that Cosby's case cannot be prosecuted again, writing, "He must be discharged, and any future prosecution on these particular charges must be barred."

In a statement to ET, District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said, "The majority decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court orders the release of William H. Cosby Jr. from state 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. 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. Prosecutors in my office will continue to follow the evidence wherever and to whomever it leads. We still believe that no one is above the law -- including those who are rich, famous and powerful." 

Cosby was initially charged in the case in 2015. He was acquitted during his first trial in 2017. The next year, during Cosby's retrial, he was convicted of all three felony sex-assault counts.

Prior to his conviction being overturned, Cosby, who has maintained that his encounter with Constand was consensual, had served more than two years of his three to 10 year prison sentence. He was denied parole in May.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to review Cosby's case last June. 

RELATED CONTENT: 

Bill Cosby Released From Prison: Phylicia Rashad, Rosie O'Donnell & More Stars React

Bill Cosby Leaves Prison After Sexual Assault Conviction Is Overturned

Bill Cosby to Be Released From Prison as Conviction Is Overturned