Bill Cosby won’t be getting paroled this year, after the Pennsylvania Parole Board denied his petition for release citing his refusal to participate in court-mandated therapy for sexually violent predators.
The 83-year-old comedian was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison in 2018, after his conviction for the sexual assault of Andrea Constand. Housed at a state prison in Montgomery County since, he could have been eligible for parole as early as Sept. 25.
But, since his conviction, Cosby has maintained his innocence, continued to fight his case on appeal, and vowed he would never express remorse for a crime he insists he did not commit.
The parole board — in a letter dated May 11 that was first reported Thursday by Nicole Weisensee Egan, a former Daily News reporter and author of the book Chasing Cosby, — cited his failure to complete the therapy program and a negative recommendation from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections as factors in denying his release.
A spokesperson for the board declined to answer questions Friday about what prompted corrections officials to oppose his release, citing the confidentiality of those records.
Constand, who struck up a friendship with Cosby while at Temple University and later testified that he drugged and attacked her at his home in Cheltenham in 2004, responded to the news with a single-word, all-caps tweet.
“DENIED,” she wrote.
Andrew Wyatt, a spokesperson for the comedian, said Cosby is “standing strong” in prison and that the parole board’s decision did not come as a surprise.
“From the moment he was sentenced and taken into custody, Mr. Cosby said he wasn’t going to take these courses because that’s a sign of remorse and he’s not remorseful for anything because he maintains his innocence,” Wyatt said. “Mr. Cosby continues to remain hopeful that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will issue an opinion to vacate his conviction or warrant him a new trial.”
In December, Cosby’s lawyers urged the state’s justices to overturn his conviction, arguing, among other things, that testimony at his trial from five other women who accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them before Constand had unfairly biased the jury against him.
The court has yet to issue its ruling in his appeal. Should it side with Cosby, it could either order a new trial or preserve his conviction, finding that — while improper — the testimony from his other accusers did not outweigh the other evidence pointing to his guilt.