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Harvey Weinstein’s New York felony sex crimes conviction is overturned

The New York Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned the sex crimes conviction against Harvey Weinstein, the infamous Hollywood producer whose downfall stood as a symbol of the #MeToo movement. Many women testified against Weinstein and many more shared their stories of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse online. Shockingly, by a 4-3 vote, the court ordered a new trial.

“We conclude that the trial court erroneously admitted testimony of uncharged, alleged prior sexual acts against persons other than the complainants of the underlying crimes because that testimony served no material non-propensity purpose,” the ruling, written by Judge Jenny Rivera, states, “The court compounded that error when it ruled that defendant, who had no criminal history, could be cross-examined about those allegations as well as numerous allegations of misconduct that portrayed defendant in a highly prejudicial light. The synergistic effect of these errors was not harmless.”

Weinstein has maintained his innocence and has denied any nonconsensual sexual activity, despite the mounting evidence and testimony against him.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said it plans to retry the case. “We will do everything in our power to retry this case and remain steadfast in our commitment to survivors of sexual assault,” said Emily Tuttle, deputy director of communications and senior advisor for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

In New York, Weinstein was convicted in 2020 of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape, and he was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

“Today’s decision is a major step back in holding those accountable for acts of sexual violence,” he said in a statement. “Courts routinely admit evidence of other uncharged acts where they assist juries in understanding issues concerning the intent, modus operandi or scheme of the defendant. The jury was instructed on the relevance of this testimony and overturning the verdict is tragic in that it will require the victims to endure yet another trial,” said Douglas H. Wigdor, an attorney who has represented eight of Weinstein’s accusers, criticizing the ruling.

Weinstein, 72, is being held at Mohawk Correctional Facility in Rome, New York, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. He also was sentenced last year in Los Angeles to 16 years in prison for charges of rape and sexual assault.


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