Cosby After Leaving Prison: ‘I Have Always Maintained My Innocence’ 

American comedian Bill Cosby issued his first statement Wednesday after being freed from prison by the state of Pennsylvania Supreme Court, saying he has never changed his story and has always maintained his innocence.  On his Twitter account, Cosby went on to say, “Thank you to all my fans, supporters and friends who stood by me through this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law.” In 2018, Cosby received a sentence of three to 10 years based on testimony he gave in 2005 in a civil lawsuit brought against him by Andrea Constand, who accused him of sexual assault after he gave her a sedative without her knowledge, leaving her incapacitated. The state high court ruled Wednesday that the testimony he gave should have never been heard because a previous district attorney had promised he wouldn’t be charged if he gave it.  The 83-year-old Cosby returned to his Philadelphia-area home Wednesday hours after the court threw out his conviction. Constand’s accusation was one of dozens leveled against the popular entertainer, many of them going back decades. His conviction was one of the first in the so-called “Me Too” era, which saw scores of women coming forward to accuse powerful men in entertainment, media and politics of sexual assault and related crimes.    Constand and her lawyers issued a statement Wednesday calling the ruling disappointing, and expressed fear that it could discourage sexual assault victims from coming forward. The Associated Press news service and the Reuters news agency contributed to this report.  

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