Harvey Weinstein Updates: The conviction of former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein on rape and sexual assault charges has been maintained by a New York appeals court, dismissing claims that the trial judge rigged the outcome in favour of the prosecution.
A five-judge appellate panel found no errors by the judge that warranted the conviction or the 23-year sentence being overturned in a unanimous verdict announced on Thursday.
“We reject defendant’s allegations, and affirm the conviction in all respects,” Justice Angela Mazzarelli wrote on behalf of the court.
In January, Alvin Bragg, the new Manhattan District Attorney, released a statement congratulating the case’s survivors for their “extraordinary fortitude and candour.”
“We are pleased with today’s verdict, which preserves a landmark conviction that revolutionised how prosecutors and courts approach difficult sexual predator cases,” Bragg said.
“WE ARE SORRY, BUT NOT SHOCKED,” SAID WEINSTEIN’S SPOKESWOMAN, JUDA ENGELMAYER :
“We’re looking at all of our options and plan to file a petition with the Court of Appeals and possibly the Supreme Court,” Engelmayer said. The New York Supreme Court is the state’s highest court.
In February 2020, Weinstein was found guilty. He is currently being imprisoned at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles, where he is charged with 11 further sex offences.
His attorneys claimed that the trial judge, Justice James Burke, had made numerous mistakes that prohibited him from receiving a fair trial.
They claimed that because of “prior bad behaviour,” the prosecutors should not have been allowed to call three witnesses to testify regarding uncharged conduct.
They also claimed that Weinstein was effectively barred from testifying in his own defence since prosecutors were allowed to bring up 28 additional events, including bullying and physical abuse, in order to discredit his testimony.
According to a source, the appeals court dismissed both claims in a 45-page order, concluding that Burke had exercised his discretion in permitting both sorts of evidence.
While we acknowledge the court’s grant of a large amount of impeachment evidence, we have analysed that decision in light of all of the facts presented in this case.and have found that the court exercised its discretion in a prudent manner,” Mazzarelli wrote.
Two justices said Burke’s findings lacked “balance,” and Justice Sallie Manzanet-Daniels said Weinstein had been subjected to “overkill” at an appellate hearing in December.
Weinstein was found guilty of molesting Miriam Haley and raping Jessica Mann in the third degree.
Weinstein’s defence said that both accusers lacked credibility because they remained connected with Weinstein afterward, sending him heartfelt notes of gratitude.
Weinstein’s lawyers filed an appeal, arguing that the jury could not have found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based on the information presented.
“WE HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO REACH A DECISION ON THIS,” MAZZARELLI WROTE:
“Despite the complainants’ behaviour before and after the events in question, the jury could have inferred that defendant acted without their agreement.”
The ruling was “thrilled” by Gloria Allred, who represented Haley and two other witnesses at the trial.
Allred added, “Mimi made significant sacrifices for the cause of justice and was subjected to a gruelling cross examination.
“I’d want to thank the two clients who testified in this case, as well as the entire prosecution team,” the lawyer stated.
Burke’s decision not to remove Juror 11, a writer whose upcoming work dealt with predatory older men, was also criticised by Weinstein’s lawyers.
The defence claimed that during jury selection, the juror misled about the contents of the book, and they were outraged when she was permitted to stay on the panel.
Weinstein, who is currently 69 years old, will not be eligible for release until he is 87.
His attorneys claim he is in poor health and need extensive therapy to avoid blindness.
During his New York trial, Weinstein walked to court on a walker.
In Los Angeles, bailiffs transport him in a wheelchair to his court hearings.