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Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court overturned Bill Cosby's 2018 conviction for sexual assault on Wednesday, finding that an agreement he struck to provide testimony in a civil lawsuit in 2005 and 2006 should have given him immunity in the case.

Why it matters: The 83-year-old Cosby, who was sentenced to 3–10 years in prison for drugging and molesting a woman in 2004, was released from prison just before 2:30 p.m. local time, a spokesperson from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections confirmed.

  • He has been accused of sexual misconduct or rape by more than 60 women, but none of the other allegations have resulted in criminal charges.

The other side: Cosby's lawyers have long argued that his decision to sit for a deposition in a civil lawsuit in 2005 and 2006 hinged on a promise of immunity from a district attorney at the time, and that it was, therefore, improper to have his statements used against him in a criminal trial, reports NBC News.

  • "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 Pennsylvania Supreme Court wrote in an opinion.
  • "For these reasons, Cosby’s convictions and judgment of sentence are vacated, and he is discharged."
  • Cosby will be leaving prison within hours, reports ABC News. The court also banned future prosecution on these particular charges.

The big picture: In 2018, in addition to his prison sentence, Cosby was mandated to undergo lifetime counseling, appear on a sex offender registry and report quarterly to authorities.

  • In May, Cosby was denied parole after refusing to participate in sex offender programs, per AP.
  • He has never admitted wrongdoing or expressed remorse.

Go deeper

Manhattan, Westchester prosecutors request evidence from Cuomo investigation

Gov. Cuomo during a press conference in New York City on Aug. 2. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The district attorneys for Manhattan and Westchester County on Wednesday requested evidence related to New York Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), according to a letter obtained by NBC News.

Why it matters: The district attorneys are investigating if alleged conduct highlighted in an independent report published by James' office that occurred in their jurisdictions was criminal in nature.

Scoop: Buzzy media startup Puck launches in beta

Puck.news

Puck, a splashy new digital media company, is coming out of stealth mode, Axios has learned. The company debuted its landing page, puck.news, on Wednesday, and will officially launch its website in September.

Why it matters: The company has been quietly building a roster of top talent, but hadn't confirmed its branding or exact business plans up until now.

NOAA's updated hurricane outlook calls for even more storms in 2021

Hurricane Dorian seen on Sept. 2, 2019. Photo: NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday updated its 2021 Atlantic hurricane seasonal forecast, slightly increasing expectations for the number of named storms and powerful hurricanes.

Why it matters: With the U.S. already reeling from extreme heat and wildfires, disaster response agencies are overstretched. A particularly destructive and active hurricane season could overwhelm some of its response capacity.

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