Bill Cosby to have a party to mark 1st anniversary of prison release
Bill Cosby is speaking out on the first anniversary of his sex conviction reversal.
It's been exactly one year since the once-beloved comedian and actor's 2018 conviction was overturned and he was freed from Pennsylvania prison. The 84-year-old is marking the day by celebrating with a party, his spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt, tells Yahoo Entertainment. He's also breaking his silence about his time in SCI Phoenix prison in a new 22-minute video.
Cosby was the first celebrity tried and convicted in the #MeToo era. While 60 women accused The Cosby Show star of sexual misconduct, this case stemmed from Temple University employee Andrea Constand's claim he drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2004. He was found guilty 14 years later and sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison. In a surprise turn of events, the court found that "America's Dad" was unfairly prosecuted — because the previous district attorney promised Cosby wouldn't be charged over Constand's accusations — and he walked free on June 30, 2021.
In the new video, which can be seen on Wyatt's Instagram page, Cosby talked about being asleep on the cot in his cell, which he dubbed "the penthouse," when he got the surprise news that he would be freed immediately.
"What is it —Juneteenth?" he said he quipped to the guards.
Cosby said it was a flurry, with multiple guards telling him to get up immediately to leave. Cosby, who was in the general population, recalled someone putting on his prison-issued showers shoes, on the wrong feet initially, and leaving the cell, where they had a wheelchair waiting for him.
As he was wheeled out, Cosby, who is legally blind, recalled silence at first. "Then all of a sudden, I hear this in time — not the kind of applause that you get in the beginning or middle of your show — this is together clapping. Clap, clap, clap, clap... They were all clapping. It was, to me, very, very moving," he said.
Cosby said "murderers, rapists, bank robbers, wife beaters [were] all clapping" for him. Many were inmates he interacted with during various prison programs he participated in. There was Mann-Up and FACT, which he attended facilitated by an inmate named Popcorn. Cosby has previously spoken about helping fellow Black inmates, via speaking at gatherings of these groups, while incarcerated.
Cosby was then told his car was ready and for the first time in two years and 10 months he was able to go outside and get into his car without his hands or legs being chained. Footage was shown from his ride home, with Wyatt at the wheel.
"'Your wife got you out of jail,'" Wyatt was seen telling him, referring to Camille, who he married in 1964. "Yes, I know my wife did it. She did it without a doubt."
Cosby immediately wanted to know, footage from the drive home from prison showed, what Wyatt heard on the news about his release. Wyatt said he learned the night before it may happen; Cosby was caught completely by surprise, he said.
"I'm a free man, you know," Cosby said, adding he was relieved he no longer had to file as a sex offender. He said "the media made a lot of money" on his back.
He was also thinking about the men he met in prison and was now leaving behind, including telling the story of one who told him, "'I want to be your hero, Mr. Cosby' ... I kept saying, 'I hope so man, I hope so.'"
Upon reaching his home — with a media frenzy awaiting — Cosby said he would go inside first and "just rest a sec," because "my heart... It's just heavy." Wyatt told Cosby he should do a raised fist gesture to the press out the window. He instead practiced doing a "V" for victory sign, which he later did at the presser.
Cosby shared a statement with Yahoo about why he decided to speak out about his release on the first anniversary. He said, "Hope and inspiration comes to my mind when I think of those men that will never be left behind nor forgotten by me. Many of them called me their HERO but they really became my HERO."
While he continues to celebrate, his release, of course, stunned Hollywood and his many accusers. And that wasn't an end to his legal troubles. Earlier this month, a California jury found that Cosby sexually assaulted Judy Huth at the Playboy Mansion in 1975 when she was a teenager. Huth, now 64, was awarded $500,000. Although Cosby's been accused of sexual misconduct by 60 women, this was the first civil case to reach trial. Cosby, who denied a sexual encounter occurred, did not attend the trial.