Bill Cosby Plans To Return To Performing After His Prison Release
He’s also working on a book and documentary.
On June 30, 2021, Bill Cosby’s conviction on charges of sexual assault was overturned. The comedian and actor, who is now 84 and legally blind, was released from prison after serving less than three years of a maximum 10-year sentence. He left SCI Phoenix, a maximum-security facility about 45 minutes outside Philadelphia, and went to his home 25 miles away in Elkins Park, where he flashed the V-for-victory sign to a helicopter overhead before going inside.
Cosby later emerged with his spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, and his lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, who revealed that he already had plans to reinvigorate his career. As reported by the New York Times, Wyatt said that Cosby is writing a book as well as working with a production company on a five-part documentary about his life and legacy. He also announced that Cosby plans to return to the stage, claiming he’d already been fielding calls from promoters. “People want to hear and see this guy,” Wyatt said. “He can sell out shows. People want to hear Mr. Cosby. He is loved by millions.”
This comes after more than 50 women accused Cosby of sexual abuse spanning back as far as the mid-1960s. (Cosby has repeatedly denied the claims). By the time the allegations began to emerge in the mid-2010s, the statute of limitations had passed on most of the cases. But in 2018, Cosby was found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a Temple University sports administrator, in his home in 2004.
Though the Pennsylvania Supreme Court later overturned Cosby’s conviction, the justices did not exonerate him. In their split-decision ruling, the majority determined that the actor’s right to due process had been violated and that he did not receive a fair trial because some evidence against him had been gained by improper means. In late November 2021, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania prosecutors began an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to review the state court’s decision. As noted by NPR, the official U.S. Courts website explains that the Supreme Court is asked to review more than 7,000 cases per year, but only hears about 100 to 150 appeals annually.
After the conviction was overturned, Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. partner Joseph Cammarata, who represented seven of the women accusing Cosby of sexual assault, insisted that Cosby had not been vindicated. “Cosby gets to say he is innocent, but the Supreme Court didn’t reject the claims of 60 women, or the women who testified at trial that they were assaulted by Cosby, and it didn’t reject the jury’s verdict that he was guilty on all counts,” he said in a statement.
Shortly after his release, Cosby thanked the “fans, supporters, and friends” who stood by him “through this ordeal” on Twitter. “I have never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence,” he wrote, per HuffPost. However, it appears Cosby has since deleted his Twitter account and has otherwise kept a low profile.
In early 2022, Wyatt told TMZ that Cosby’s former inmates from SCI Phoenix still reach out to him about three times a week for guidance. According to the website, Cosby’s friends want him to return to the prison as a motivational speaker. Though Wyatt confirmed that Cosby plans on doing speaking engagements in the future, he’s currently focused on his legal battles, including a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles.
No further details have emerged about the documentary Wyatt announced, but Cosby’s complicated legacy and alleged crimes will be dissected in another series: Showtime’s We Need To Talk About Cosby, premiering on Jan. 30. In the meantime, Cosby will continue to enjoy his freedom alongside his wife Camille Cosby, who has stood by his side throughout his trial and incarceration.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.