New York Overturns Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape Conviction

The 2020 New York rape conviction of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has been overturned due to the fact that he was not given a fair trial.

Prosecutors in the landmark #MeToo case, according to the New York Court of Appeals, called witnesses whose allegations were not included in the charges against him.

The court granted a new trial, ruling that he had been unfairly prosecuted for prior behaviour.

Weinstein, 72, is still incarcerated. In LA, he was found guilty of rape on his own.

Reversal was dubbed “disheartening and profoundly unjust” by victims’ group Silence Breakers, and decision to retrial was deemed “tragic” and a “leap backwards” by victims’ attorneys.

In a 4-3 decision on Thursday, the court declared that the trial had “erroneously admitted testimony of uncharged, alleged prior sexual acts against persons other than the complainants of the underlying crimes.”

The ruling further stated that by permitting Weinstein to be cross-examined in a manner that painted him in a “highly prejudicial” light, the trial judge had made matters worse.

“The remedy for these egregious errors is a new trial.”

Nonetheless, one of the dissenters, Judge Madeline Singas, stated that “this Court continues to thwart the steady gains survivors of sexual violence have fought for in our criminal justice system” in light of the ruling.

The #MeToo movement, which exposes sexual abuse at the highest echelons of the Hollywood film business and beyond, was ignited by accusations against Weinstein that surfaced in 2017.

He was put through two trials. He was convicted in 2020 of sexually abusing a former production assistant in New York in 2006 and raping an aspiring actress in 2013. He was given a 23-year prison sentence.

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He was given a 16-year term in California last year for the 2013 rape of an Italian actress and model in a Beverly Hills hotel. The outcome of the New York appeal does not change that conviction.

In the UK, Weinstein is also accused of two counts of indecent assault.

Weinstein is still incarcerated at the Mohawk Correctional Facility in the state of New York. He had already been extradited to Los Angeles to face trial.

Whether to retry Weinstein in New York will now be up to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose predecessor Cyrus Vance filed the case.

A representative for Mr. Bragg, Emily Tuttle, stated, “We will do everything in our power to retry this case, and remain steadfast in our commitment to survivors of sexual assault.”

Separately, Mr. Bragg’s office is prosecuting former President Donald Trump in a felony hush-money case.

Arthur Aidala, Weinstein’s attorney, praised the appeals court for “upholding the most basic principles that a criminal defendant should have in a trial” and told the New York Times that the ruling was a triumph for both his client and “for every criminal defendant in the state of New York”.

He continued by saying that his client had not been notified of the decision right away.

Eight of Weinstein’s victims were represented by attorney Douglas Wigdor, who called the ruling “tragic” and “a major step back in holding those accountable for acts of sexual violence”.

“Courts routinely admit evidence of other uncharged acts… the jury was instructed on the relevance of this testimony,” he stated. “It will require the victims to endure yet another trial.”

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Representing six victims of Harvey Weinstein, Lindsay Goldbrum called the appellate court’s criticism of the use of witnesses unrelated to the allegations a “leap backwards” and detrimental to future prosecutions.

The witnesses, according to her, “had nothing to gain personally from taking part in the trial.” Their sole objective was to offer dozens of other women who had endured such suffering a voice.”

The principal prosecution witness, Gloria Allred, stated that her client, Mimi Haley, would be open to testifying again in any subsequent trial, “despite the fact that the process of testifying was gruelling and retraumatizing for Mimi.”

The decision, according to the Silence Breakers, “is just a setback; it does not diminish the validity of our experiences or our truth.” We are still steadfast in our support of that modification. We are going to keep fighting for justice for all survivors worldwide.”

Co-founding the Miramax film studio, Weinstein produced successful films such as Pulp Fiction and Shakespeare in Love, which took home the best picture Oscar.

More than 300 Oscar nominations and 81 statuettes were awarded to Weinstein’s films.

In March 2018, his own film studio bearing his name declared bankruptcy.

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