Phylicia Rashad Says 'a Terrible Wrong Has Been Righted' After Bill Cosby's Release

Actress Phylicia Rashad, who played Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, applauded the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision Wednesday to vacate Bill Cosby's sexual assault conviction and release him from prison.

"FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted - a miscarriage of justice is corrected!" Rashad wrote in a tweet featuring a picture of Cosby.

FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!

— Phylicia Rashad (@PhyliciaRashad) June 30, 2021

The court ruled that Cosby's conviction should be vacated in part because a previous agreement he had with a prosecutor prevented him from being criminally charged. In 2005, then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor said he found "insufficient, credible and admissible evidence" on the charges against Cosby. Castor also agreed with Cosby's lawyers not to file criminal charges.

"There is only one remedy that can completely restore Cosby to the status quo ante," the justices wrote in their opinion. "He must be discharged, and any future prosecution on these particular charges must be barred. We do not dispute that this remedy is both severe and rare. But it is warranted here, indeed compelled. For these reasons, Cosby's convictions and judgment of sentence are vacated, and he is discharged."

The ruling also says that Cosby can't face a retrial in the case.

Cosby was first charged with sexual assault in 2015, after Andrea Constand, a former employee at Temple University, accused him of drugging and molesting her in 2004. He was convicted in 2018 and received a three- to 10-year sentence. He has served more than two years. Constand claimed that Cosby gave her three blue pills in 2004 which made her partially unconscious. She alleged that Cosby then inappropriately touched her.

In 2018 a Pennsylvania judge said that Cosby was a "sexually violent predator" and that he posed an "imminent safety risk to women." In 2020, Cosby's lawyers appealed the 2018 conviction to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

In addition to the previous agreement Castor made with Cosby's lawyers to not file criminal charges, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court also reviewed the decision by the trial judges in the lower appeals court to allow five additional accusers to testify against Cosby.

Shortly after the decision, Lisa Bloom, who represented Cosby's accusers, wrote on Twitter that her clients "are disgusted that he is a free man today."

"He is not released because he is innocent," Bloom said in the tweet. "He is released because a prosecutor promised him years ago that he would not be brought to justice, without even making a deal for him to do time."

Newsweek reached out to Rashad's representatives for further comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Bill Cosby
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out Bill Cosby's sexual assault conviction and opened the way for his immediate release from prison. Above, Cosby arrives for sentencing in his sexual assault trial at a courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, on September 25, 2018. Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty