Bill Cosby breaks silence to thank court and fans after prison release

Bill Cosby was released from prison after a court overturned his sex assault conviction. (Photo by Michael Abbott/Getty Images)
Bill Cosby was released from prison after a court overturned his sex assault conviction. (Getty Images)

Bill Cosby has thanked a US court and his fans and supporters after his sexual assault conviction was overturned and he was freed from prison.

Cosby, an entertainer once known as “America’s Dad”, arrived home on Wednesday after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled he had been denied a fair trial in 2018.

The 83-year-old had served three years of a three to 10-year sentence.

After being released, Cosby appeared in a press conference outside his suburban Philadelphia home covered live by the major US TV networks.

Watch: Bill Cosby's attorney thinks 'angry energy' should be directed at prosecution

However, he did not speak, instead relying on spokesman Andrew Wyatt.

A message has since been posted on Cosby’s official Twitter account, thanking fans who stood by him “through this ordeal”.

It said: “I have never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence. Thank you to all my fans, supporters and friends who stood by me through this ordeal.

Read more: Bill Cosby rep brands Eddie Murphy a 'Hollywood slave'

“Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law.”

Three years ago he was convicted of drugging and assaulting Temple University sports administrator Andrea Constand in 2004.

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania court ruled the prosecutor who brought the case was bound by his predecessor’s agreement not to charge the TV star.

In a statement, Constand called the ruling “not only disappointing but of concern in 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”.

Gloria Allred, the high-powered lawyer who represented many of Cosby’s accusers, warned the comedian is “not home free” despite being released from prison.

Watch: Bill Cosby released from prison

The women’s rights activist said the conviction being overturned on technical grounds “did not vindicate (his) conduct and should not be interpreted as a statement or a finding that he did not engage in the acts of which he has been accused”.

Speaking during a press conference held over Zoom from Los Angeles, Allred said now Cosby’s criminal case was over, she could pursue a civil complaint against the star.

With reporting by PA.