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Nice Try, Harvey: New York Appeals Court Upholds Weinstein’s Rape Conviction

Nice Try, Harvey: New York Appeals Court Upholds Weinstein’s Rape Conviction

Harvey Weinstein has lost his appeal. On Thursday, a New York appellate court ruled to uphold Weinstein’s conviction on rape and sexual assault charges, rejecting the idea that trial errors justified overturning the mega-producer’s conviction, for which he had received a 23-year sentence. 

Weinstein’s lawyers argued that trial judge Justice James Burke made multiple mistakes that prevented their client from receiving a fair trial, such as choosing not to remove Juror 11, who the lawyers had said was penning an upcoming novel dealing with “predatory older men.” The defense argued that Juror 11 lied about aspects of her forthcoming novel during voir dire, which they had originally said was grounds for a mistrial after she was sworn in. Weinstein’s attorneys also claimed that the executive himself was basically prevented from testifying in his own defense, as prosecutors had been granted a motion allowing them to cross-examine Weinstein about 28 incidents—including acts of deception and violence—in an effort to impeach his testimony.

However, the five-judge appellate panel unanimously ruled to uphold Weinstein’s conviction, declining to accept Weinstein’s argument that Burke had swayed the outcome against him. “We reject defendant’s arguments, and affirm the conviction in all respects,” Justice Angela Mazzarelli wrote in the 45-page ruling, before going on to explain the reasons why.

“While we acknowledge the sheer size of the impeachment material that the court allowed, we have analyzed that decision within the larger context of all of the circumstances presented by this case, and have concluded that the court providently exercised its discretion,” Mazzarelli wrote on behalf of the court.

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Weinstein was convicted on two charges in New York in February 2020: a criminal sex act in the first degree, for forcibly performing oral sex on a production assistant in 2006, and rape in the third degree, which occurred in 2013. He was acquitted of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault, charges that arose after actor Annabella Sciorra alleged that Weinstein raped her in the mid-1990s. He is currently jailed at Los Angeles’s Twin Towers Correctional Facility, as he was extradited there last year to await trial on charges that he assaulted five women in L.A. and Beverly Hills between 2004 and 2013. (Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him in California.) With his conviction and sentence maintained, the 70-year-old disgraced film exec will remain ineligible for parole until after his 87th birthday. 


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