Harvey Weinstein Appeals Intercourse Crimes Conviction Over Accusers’ Testimony

Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer discovered responsible of two felony intercourse crimes final 12 months, appealed his conviction on Monday, saying a number of ladies who had accused him of sexual assault ought to by no means have been allowed to testify.

Mr. Weinstein, 69, was sentenced to 23 years in jail in a case that relied closely on testimony from three ladies who spoke about Mr. Weinstein’s assaults in opposition to them at trial, although he was not charged for the conduct they described.

Within the enchantment, Mr. Weinstein’s attorneys mentioned the ladies’s testimony led the jury to deal with the lengthy historical past of allegations in opposition to their consumer relatively than on the precise expenses that had introduced him into the courtroom.

“Merely put, the prosecution tried Weinstein’s character not his conduct,” Mr. Weinstein’s attorneys write within the enchantment.

The long-expected enchantment, filed in New York State Supreme Court docket, marks the start of what’s prone to be a prolonged effort by Mr. Weinstein’s authorized staff to alter his destiny.

The allegations in opposition to Mr. Weinstein ignited the Me Too motion in 2017 after a number of ladies accused him of assault and harassment in an article in The New York Instances. That article and one in The New Yorker led to many others about Mr. Weinstein, and about sexual misconduct by highly effective males throughout a number of industries, bringing new scrutiny to conduct that had lengthy been ignored.

Mr. Weinstein’s trial confirmed one thing additional: A court docket system that appeared at instances to be ill-equipped to convey justice to the victims of intercourse crimes might convict a person who had been credibly accused by so many.

“That is no peculiar authorized case — it was the break within the dam of a long time of discrimination and unfairness,” mentioned Karen Dunn, a associate at Paul Weiss and an skilled trial lawyer. “It’s arduous to think about, significantly on the info of this case, a court docket eager to be seen as unwinding the hard-fought progress of the Me Too motion.”

Mr. Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by greater than 90 ladies. He faces further prison expenses in Los Angeles stemming from two assaults that prosecutors there say befell in 2013.

At his sentencing, after he was convicted of a first-degree prison sexual act and third-degree rape, Mr. Weinstein in contrast the motion to the Crimson Scare of the Fifties and himself to a screenwriter who had been blacklisted and jailed.

One key to his prosecutors’ technique was establishing that he had engaged in a sample of predatory conduct, echoing an method that was profitable within the trial of the actor and comic Invoice Cosby, who in 2018 was discovered responsible of sexual assault.

Along with arguing that the three ladies’s testimony had unfairly influenced the jury, Mr. Weinstein’s attorneys mentioned within the almost 170-page enchantment that there have been different causes to overturn the conviction.

They took subject with the admission of testimony from a fourth lady, the actress Annabella Sciorra, who testified that Mr. Weinstein had raped her within the early Nineteen Nineties, proof that jurors used to find out whether or not he had dedicated acts of predatory sexual assault. Jurors discovered him not responsible of two counts of that crime.

Amongst their different arguments is that an autobiographical e book by one of many jurors in his trial signifies that she was biased in opposition to him and that professional testimony from a social psychologist that the protection had hoped to name was inappropriately barred.

Prosecutors will reply the arguments Mr. Weinstein’s attorneys have produced of their enchantment, and a decide will finally decide whether or not they have benefit.

“We are going to reply in our temporary to the court docket,” mentioned Danny Frost, a spokesman for the Manhattan district lawyer.

Even when the enchantment is profitable, Mr. Weinstein is unlikely to be launched from jail anytime quickly.

A lot of Mr. Weinstein’s authorized maneuvering since he went on trial has failed. Within the midst of the case, his attorneys argued that the decide was biased and tried to have him eliminated, solely to be rejected. After the jury discovered Mr. Weinstein responsible, one in every of his attorneys requested that he be stored free on bail, partly due to his sick well being. The request was not granted.

After being sentenced, Mr. Weinstein was hospitalized with chest pains and later examined optimistic for the coronavirus.

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