Veteran US stand-up comedian, Bill Cosby has been released from prison on Wednesday, in a blow to the #MeToo movement, after a US court overturned his conviction for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman 15 years ago.
The 83-year-old left SCI Phoenix, a state jail 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia, after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Cosby had been denied a fair trial.
Cosby, who shattered racial barriers with his Emmy-winning role on “I Spy” in the 1960s, was convicted in 2018 of assaulting Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia mansion in 2004.
However, the judges wrote in a 79-page decision that a non-prosecution agreement between a former district attorney and Cosby over evidence he gave in a civil case meant the actor should not have been charged.
“Cosby’s convictions and judgment of sentence are vacated, and he is discharged,” they wrote.
Cosby, who also starred as a dad and doctor on the hit TV series “The Cosby Show,” in the 1980s, left prison just before 2:30 pm (1830 GMT), a spokesperson for Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections told AFP.
His conviction was the first guilty verdict for sexual assault against a celebrity since the advent of the worldwide reckoning against sexual violence and abuse of power dubbed the #MeToo movement.
Accusers of Cosby and supporters of the movement have since expressed resentment at his release