Bill Cosby's release gives Harvey Weinstein and Ghislaine Maxwell confidence that they will also be freed

BILL Cosby’s release is a “huge blow” to the #MeToo movement, experts claim, as Harvey Weinstein and Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers say their convictions should also be overturned. 

The disgraced TV star, 83, had his conviction dropped on Wednesday in a shock decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. 

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He had already served three years of a three-to-10-year sentence at a state prison near Philadelphia before the sexual assault conviction was deemed void due to a prior non-prosecution deal Cosby had with a former district attorney.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that the prosecutor who brought the case against the disgraced actor, District Attorney Kevin Steele, violated an earlier deal not to charge him. 

The deal had been made with Cosby by previous District Attorney Bruce Castor in 2005 but had not been put in writing, according to Fox News. 

Cosby went on to incriminate himself as a result of the deal and Steele used those remarks to charge him. 

The comedian was the first high-profile name to face charges at the beginning of the #MeToo movement. 

Convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, who is awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, were among the other prominent figures to have allegations leveled against them. 

Maxwell’s lawyers spoke out on Thursday as they claimed she should now be released from the New York prison where she is being held due to a similar deal from 2010.  

Maxwell's appellate lawyer David Oscar Markus wrote in New York Daily News that a prosecutor in Florida had promised Jeffrey Epstein in a sweetheart deal that he would not charge his “co-conspirators.”

Maxwell had not been named as a co-conspirator and Epstein’s deal was in Florida, not in New York where she is now charged. 

Yet Markus said it proves prosecutors cannot be trusted. 

"If a prosecutor promises something, he should be bound by his word — just like the rest of us," he wrote.

“This opinion and reasoning apply directly to Ghislaine Maxwell’s case," he added of Cosby.

"In her case, Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty and struck a bargain with the prosecutors in Miami: In exchange for pleading guilty in state court, the U.S. attorney’s office agreed that it would not prosecute any of his alleged co-conspirators. 

"But she should not have to fight her case at trial and her case should be thrown out, just like Cosby’s has been because prosecutors promised Epstein when he pleaded guilty that they would not prosecute her. 

"The Cosby case reaffirms that a prosecutor is bound to act with integrity and the public must be able to rely on his word," Markus concluded.

Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers said that he should also have his conviction overturned on a similar basis. 

Attorney Arthur Aidala told that both Cosby and Weinstein’s trials were similar, as accusers not linked to the charges brought against them were allowed to testify. 

Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison in New York in February 2020. He is also facing charges in California. 

Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices had voiced in Cosby’s case that the testimonies of accusers crossed the line into character attacks. 

Yet this point was ultimately moot after the conviction was overturned because of the DA's deal. 

Aidala said it still sets precedence for Weinstein’s appeal of his conviction. 

“In reversing the conviction of Bill Cosby, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has demonstrated, once again, that no matter who a defendant may be and no matter the nature of the crime, courts can be relied upon to follow the law and come to the correct decision,” Aidala told 

“This decision also reaffirms our confidence that the Appellate Division in New York will reach the similarly correct decision in Harvey Weinstein's appeal, considering the abundance of issues that cry out for a reversal."


It comes as leading legal expert Andrew Stoltmann told Fox that the court’s decision was a “black mark” against #MeToo. 

"First off, from a big-picture perspective, it's kind of a black mark on the entire #MeToo movement because Cosby was basically the start of #MeToo so for his conviction to get overturned, it's a pretty big deal," he said.   

"On a micro-level, I don't think you can really read too much into it because this was a real unique fact pattern – and by that, I mean the prosecutors said Cosby wasn't going to be indicted – publicly, he said that which is rare. So Cosby relied on that and then he testified in a deposition.

"Now, ordinarily, if Cosby might be indicted, he could have plead the Fifth Amendment – the right not to self-incriminate himself but because the prosecutors said he's not going to be indicted, Cosby spoke," the attorney explained. 

"Cosby let himself get deposed and he couldn't claim the Fifth because the prosecutor said he wasn't going to be indicted. So it's a real narrow fact pattern.

"I don't think Harvey Weinstein or the other #MeToo people sitting in jail can use this fact pattern, but it is a big deal," Stoltmann admitted.

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Cosby’s conviction was unconstitutional as he would not have made the remarks used to charge him if he did not believe that he would not be indicted due to the deal. 

His unexpected release was slammed by his accusers who claimed it would prevent other abuse victims from coming forward. 

Andrea Constand told TMZ the court's decision is concerning because "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 filing either a criminal or civil action."

She had previously testified in court that 83-year-old Cosby had given her three blue pills and then sexually assaulted her.

Three other women who have accused Cosby – Sammie Mays, Sarita Butterfield and Angela Leslie – also spoke out about the comedian's release on Wednesday, saying that they, too, think he's dangerous.

Former Playboy Bunny Victoria Valentino – who accused Cosby of drugging and raping her in 1970, when she was 24 – told ABC: "My stomach is lurching and I am deeply distressed, he's a sociopath, he's a serial rapist."

Yet his former TV wife Phylicia Rasha welcomed the decision stating that a "terrible wrong has been righted."

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