Bill Cosby thanks Jesse Jackson for calling for his release from prison due to COVID-19 threat

Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY
·2 min read
Bill Cosby thanks Jesse Jackson for calling for his release from prison due to COVID-19 threat

Bill Cosby is expressing gratitude to Rev. Jesse Jackson, who called for Cosby's release from prison amid the coronavirus pandemic in a new interview.

Speaking to The Philadelphia Tribune in an article published Tuesday, Jackson asked for the state of Pennsylvania to reexamine the risks that Cosby faces while in state prison as COVID-19 continues to spread.

"He's 84 and blind. Who's he going to hurt? He should be home and free and away from all of those germs," Jackson said, adding that the "government needs to do something" and that he thought Cosby "shouldn't still be in prison."

Cosby was convicted in April 2018 on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of his former friend, Andrea Constand, in 2004, and is serving a three-to-10-year sentence in a Pennsylvania state prison.

His representative Andrew Wyatt issued a statement to USA TODAY on Wednesday on behalf of the comedian and his wife Camille Cosby, thanking Jackson "for his courageousness and his support."

In this 2004 file photo, Bill Cosby and Jesse Jackson attend an annual conference for civil rights organization Rainbow Push Coalition.
In this 2004 file photo, Bill Cosby and Jesse Jackson attend an annual conference for civil rights organization Rainbow Push Coalition.

"Mr. & Mrs. Cosby are forever grateful to Reverend Jackson and his family because he has been working feverishly to get the State of PA to release Mr. Cosby, since the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, back in April," the statement read.

Jackson noted to The Tribune that he has known Cosby for more than 50 years and has seen the comedian help "so many, many people," citing donations Bill and Camille Cosby have given to HBCUs and other organizations.

"I'm coming forward to speak out because I believe in justice too," Jackson added.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard conflicting arguments earlier this month at a virtual hearing about whether Bill Cosby was fairly convicted of sex crimes in 2018, but many of the seven justices seemed doubtful of the prosecution's assertions.

The high court heard oral arguments from Cosby's appellate lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, and from two prosecutors from the office of District Attorney Kevin Steele of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, about whether Cosby's 2018 trial was flawed by evidence and testimony that should have been excluded, and thus should be thrown out.

The court is not expected to issue a ruling for some months.

"We remain hopeful and prayerful that the PA State Supreme Court will vacate Mr. Cosby’s false imprisonment, due to Mr. Cosby having immunity," Wyatt said Wednesday. "If that’s not the case, we are hopeful and prayerful that the PA State Supreme Court will warrant Mr. Cosby a new trial."

Contributing: Maria Puente

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bill Cosby thanks Jesse Jackson for calling for release from prison