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- Bill Cosby has appealed his conviction on charges of aggravated sexual assault, but he is still in prison and has not been granted early release.
In December 2020, Rev. Jesse Jackson called for the release of actor Bill Cosby from prison amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cosby is serving a sentence of up to 10 years after he was convicted in 2018 of three counts of aggravated sexual assault.
"He’s 84 and blind. Who’s he going to hurt?" Jackson told the Philadelphia Tribune. "He should be home and free and away from all of those germs."
A few months later, in March, a YouTube video was posted online under the title "Bill Cosby all charges dropped & thanks Jesse Jackson for his early release."
The video is attracting new attention as social media users have recently shared it on Facebook. Their posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
A representative for Cosby did thank Jackson for his support on the actor’s behalf.
"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," a statement from the representative said.
However, it’s not true that the charges against Cosby were dropped, as the video title says, or that his conviction was vacated.
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections told the Philadelphia Tribune that "based on the reprieve criteria exempting sex offenders, inmate Cosby is not eligible for a reprieve."
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last year heard an appeal of Cosby’s conviction but has not yet ruled on the case.
We rate the claim that charges against him have been dropped and he was granted an early release False.
YouTube video, March 2, 2021
The Philadelphia Tribune, Jesse Jackson calls for Bill Cosby’s prison release, Dec. 29, 2020
The New York Times, Bill Cosby’s appeal to be heard by Pennsylaniva’s Supreme Court, June 23, 2020
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections inmate locator, visited May 6, 2021
USA Today, Bill Cosby thanks Jesse Jackson for calling for his release from prison due to COVID-19 threat, Dec. 30, 2020
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