Bill Cosby's representative claims the disgraced comedian will "not survive" the coronavirus outbreak if he remains in prison. Hours earlier, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections said the 82-year-old would not be released because he is a sex offender. Cosby has been in prison since 2018 after he was convicted of sexually assaulting and drugging Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004.
Cosby's team posted a statement on his social media pages, listing the surgeries Cosby has gone through in the past few months, adding that Cosby will "not survive" if he contracts the coronarivus because of his underlying medical conditions. "During a visit to the infirmary at SCI-Phoenix for high blood pressure issues, Mr. Cosby was informed that the carotid arteries on the right and left side of his neck had 90 percent blockage due to plaque build-up (the carotid arteries are the major blood vessels in the neck that supply blood to the brain, neck and face)," the statement reads. "Those surgeries were done separately and they were successful. Mr. Cosby now takes medication for high blood pressure and he is 100 percent blind from glaucoma."
Cosby's attorneys are now asking Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to change his executive order to give Cosby compassionate relief due to his ongoing health issues. "Mr. Cosby was not given a life sentence nor a death sentence, so we are requesting that Gov. Wolf use his gubernatorial powers to show compassion to another human being, Bill Cosby," the statement read. "It has been well documented in the media and by the Secretary of Prisons, John Wetzel, that SCI-Phoenix has been badly infected with the Covid-19 virus."
On April 10, Wolf allowed vulnerable and non-violent prisoners at or close to their release dates a reprieve due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports USA Today. At least 1,500 inmates are eligible, but Cosby is not one of them because of his status as a sex offender. "He's a sex offender – they are not eligible under the governor’s reprieve order," Pennsylvania Department of Corrections spokeswoman Maria Finn said.
Cosby's representative Andrew Wyatt told USA Today their "sources close to Governor Wolf" led them to believe the Cosby Show star would be eligible for a reprieve. After hearing Cosby would not, Wyatt called it "absurd and un-American." Cosby's team believes the state is trying to "execute" Cosby by keeping him in prison.
In 2018, Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault after his trial the year before ended in a mistrial. In 2019, he appealed, but the conviction was upheld. He was sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison and is incarcerated at a facility in Collegeville, Pennsylvania.