Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction overturned by NY appeals court

Harvey Weinstein

New York’s highest court on Thursday overturned disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 conviction for sex crime charges including rape.

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The New York Times was the first to report on the decision from the New York Court of Appeals. In a 4-3 vote, the court ordered a new trial.

In the court’s decision, Judge Jenny Rivera said the trial court “erroneously admitted testimony of uncharged, alleged prior sexual acts against persons other than the complainants of the underlying crimes,” adding ”that testimony served no material non-propensity purpose.”

“The court compounded that error when it ruled that defendant, who had no criminal history, could be cross examined about those allegations as well as numerous allegations of misconduct that portrayed defendant in a highly prejudicial light,” Rivera wrote. “The synergistic effect of these errors was not harmless.”

Despite the ruling, Weinstein will not be released from prison. He will instead be sent to California to continue his sentence on convictions there, the Times reported.

A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office told the newspaper that prosecutors “will do everything in our power to retry this case.”

An attorney for Weinstein told CNN on Thursday, “Justice was served.”

“I believe this decision is larger than Harvey Weinstein,” lawyer Donna Rotunno said. “Courts cannot operate on emotion and lack of due process. The world is off-balance, and when the justice system does not work, nothing does. This decision restores faith in the foundation of our system.”

Harvey Weinstein appeal by National Content Desk on Scribd

Former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who oversaw the investigation and prosecution of Weinstein, said in a statement obtained by the Times that he was “shocked” by the decision.

“I am deeply grateful to and humbled by the survivors who came forward in the brightest glare of a public courtroom to tell their stories at great personal cost and trauma. ... The judicial system, in my opinion, has let them down today,” he said.

A jury found Weinstein guilty of criminal sexual act and rape in February 2020. The charges stemmed from incidents that happened in 2006 and 2013 and helped to spark the #MeToo movement. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

In 2022, a separate jury in California found Weinstein guilty of raping a woman nine years earlier. He was sentenced to 16 years in that case.

Weinstein has denied the charges and maintained his innocence.

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