Bill Cosby is to be released from prison Wednesday after his conviction on sexual assault charges was overturned by Pennsylvania’s highest court.
His publicist, Andrew Wyatt, will be picking him up to leave prison within hours, Wyatt confirmed to ABC News.
Cosby was sentenced in September 2018 to three to 10 years in state prison for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004.
Last year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to hear two points in Cosby’s appeal to overturn his 2018 sexual assault conviction.
In a ruling released Wednesday, the state Supreme Court concluded that Cosby’s prosecution should never have occurred due to a deal the comedian cut with former Montgomery County prosecutor Bruce Castor, who agreed not to criminally prosecute Cosby if he agreed to give a deposition in a civil case brought against him by Constand.
During that deposition, Cosby made incriminating statements that Castor’s successor, Kevin R. Steele, used to charge Cosby in 2015.
Castor is the same lawyer who went on to represent former President Donald Trump during the ex-president’s second impeachment trial earlier this year.
“The discretion vested in our Commonwealth’s prosecutors, however vast, does not mean that its exercise is free of the constraints of due process,” the Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices wrote in their 79-page decision.
“When an unconditional charging decision is made publicly and with the intent to induce action and reliance by the defendant, and when the defendant does so to his detriment (and in some instances upon the advice of counsel), denying the defendant the benefit of that decision is an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was foregone for more than a decade,” the justices wrote.
The decision went on to say that Cosby was the victim of an unconstitutional “coercive bait-and-switch.”
Believing he had immunity from criminal prosecution, Cosby testified during four days of depositions by Constand’s attorneys, and the civil lawsuit was settled for more than $3 million in 2006.
Cosby cannot be retried on the criminal charges.
Attorney Gloria Allred represented several women who testified at Cosby’s trial to bolster the prosecution’s evidence of “prior bad acts” against the entertainer and to prove a pattern of practice.
“Despite the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision, this was an important fight for justice,” Allred told ABC News Live. “And even though the court overturned the conviction on technical grounds, it did not vindicate Bill Cosby’s conduct and should not be interpreted as a statement or a finding that he did not engage in the acts of which he has been accused.”
In an appeal of the conviction, Cosby’s lawyers argued that the trial judge erred in allowing Cosby’s prior deposition about using quaaludes during consensual sexual encounters with women in the 1970s.
Two lower courts, including a three-judge panel of Pennsylvania Superior Court jurists, had previously refused to overturn the comedian’s conviction.
Despite the deluge of accusations against him, Cosby has maintained he never engaged in non-consensual sex.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
ABC News’ Meredith Deliso contributed to this report.
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