Over two years after Harvey Weinstein was tried, convicted and jailed for rape and sexual assault in Manhattan, a new York Appeals court today upheld the verdict, rejecting the former movie mogul’s defense arguments that the proceedings heavily favored the prosecution.
The five-judge panel did not find any errors by the judge, Justice James M. Burke, that would warrant overturning the conviction, which carried a 23 year sentence. Weinstein’s lawyers had objected to the Burke’s allowing prosecutors to call three so-called Molineux witnesses to testify to “prior bad acts” by the former Miramax and Weinstein Company chief. According to the appeals panel, “all of the material allowed by the court was unquestionably relevant” (read the decision here).
We “affirm the conviction in all respects,” it said, “of criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree and sentencing him to consecutive terms of 20 years and 3 years, respectively.”
The unanimous decision is something of a surprise as the judges had appeared to be somewhat sympathetic to the arguments of Weinstein’s legal team when oral arguments for the appeal was heard back in December 2021.
“We are reviewing all of our options and will seek to petition the court appeals and beyond. We are disappointed, but not surprised,” said a spokesman for Weinstein.
Another high profile participant in Weinstein’s original trial had much more to say.
“I am thrilled that the criminal conviction of Harvey Weinstein was upheld today,” lawyer Gloria Allred told Deadline.
“My client, Mimi Haley was the key prosecution witness in this important case,’ the advocate attorney added. “Based on her testimony ,Mr. Weinstein was convicted of criminal sexual assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison for that crime against her. Mimi made many sacrifices for the cause of justice and endured a vigorous cross examination. I am very proud of her and my 2 other clients who testified in this case, and the entire prosecution team in this case. Justice was done, but now I am also looking forward to the criminal prosecution of Mr. Weinstein in Los Angeles, where I also represent alleged victims for whom charges have been filed there.”
After a month-long trial, Weinstein was convicted in February of 2020. After time behind bars in a prison near Buffalo, Weinstein was moved out West last year. Housed at DTLA’s Twin Towers Correctional Facility, he is currently awaiting the start of a new trial on a multitude of sex crime charges to prosecuted by the Los Angeles County D.A.’s office
Last week, the past Oscar winner made news when his team threatened legal action over a bizarre self-published book called Harvey Weinstein: My Story that surfaced for sale on Amazon. It purported to be by him but turns out it was actually written by two fellow Twin Towers inmates and compiled by nonprofit Prisons Foundation, which publishes the works of convicts. Amazon pulled the lurid book Friday evening as the media discovered the book.
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