Harvey Weinstein appeals rape conviction in MeToo case
Harvey Weinstein enters the courthouse on July 11, 2019 in New York City.
Stephanie Keith | Getty Images
Film producer Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers appealed his conviction of rape and another sex crime on Monday.
69-year-old Weinstein was convicted after a trial in the Manhattan Supreme Court in February 2020.
He is serving a 23-year prison sentence on trial two years after Weinstein’s explosion of explosive sexual misconduct allegations that sparked the #MeToo movement that has derailed the careers of other high-profile men to this day.
In a lawsuit, his attorneys set seven grounds for overturning the conviction of the producer of such films as Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love and Gangs of New York.
These include allegations that Weinstein was denied his right to face trial by an impartial jury when trial judge James Burke denied his request to ban a potential juror who was reading an autobiographical book about “the predators of older men against younger women.” “had written. and who lied about the content of the book when the jury selected it.
Defense attorneys also argued that Weinstein was denied his right to a fair trial because the jury was allowed to hear allegations of serious sexual misconduct from him that were not the subject of the specific charges he faced and that defense experts were wrongly excluded from testimony became the subject of memories of sexual events.
And, the lawyers argued, Weinstein received “a punishment that was harsh and excessive”.
The complaint is filed with the Appeals Department of the Manhattan Supreme Court.
“We filed a 166-page brief listing some serious errors that were made during the process,” Weinstein’s appellate attorney Barry Kamins said in a statement to CNBC.
“We are confident the Appeals Department will take these issues seriously enough to have the conviction overturned,” said Kamins.
The jury sentenced Weinstein to a first-degree criminal sexual act by forcibly performing oral sex with production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006. He was also found guilty of third degree rape for assaulting aspiring actress Jessica Mann in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013.
During the trial, the jury heard testimony from actress Annabella Sciorra, who said Weinstein raped her in her Manhattan apartment in 1993.
Weinstein was not accused of raping Sciorra, but her testimony was allowed along with that of five other women from Burke, the judge, so that prosecutors could show a pattern of predatory behavior by the film mogul. Numerous other women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
Another Weinstein attorney, Arthur Aidala, said, “With a year behind and emotions waning, the case record confirms what we have always believed: that Mr. Weinstein did not get a fair trial.”
“We will argue that the trial judge violated well-accepted and fundamental principles of New York law and violated Mr. Weinstein’s constitutional rights,” Aidala said. “We are very confident that the Appeals Department will correct these mistakes and send this case back to another judge.”
Douglas Wigdor, an attorney representing seven women who have made allegations against Weinstein, including one who testified during the trial, said in a statement: “Harvey Weinstein’s criminal complaint is a desperate attempt at a fair trial overseen by Judge Burke and the To undo results a well-reasoned and thoughtful jury. “
“We are confident that the appeal will not change his convictions and judgment,” said Wigdor.
In addition to the New York case, Weinstein is also facing pending charges filed by the Los Angeles prosecutor in January 2020. She accused him of raping a woman and sexually assaulting a second woman over a period of two days in 2013.
The Los Angeles attorney has an extradition request pending for Weinstein, who is being held in a New York State prison. Weinstein, who has several health problems, tested positive for the coronavirus in prison in March 2020.
Weinstein founded the entertainment company Miramax with his brother Bob Weinstein.
They later founded The Weinstein Company, another film production company that filed for bankruptcy in early 2018 following the damned Harvey Weinstein charges, which were first published in The New Yorker and The New York Times. The Weinstein Company closed later that year.
– CNBCs Kevin Breuninger contributed to this article.