New York Court Overturns Harvey Weinstein S-x Crime Conviction

On Thursday, New York’s highest court overturned disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 conviction on s-x crime charges, in a stunning reversal of one of the #MeToo movement’s defining instances.

In a 4-3 decision, the Court of Appeals ruled that the trial judge erred in accepting testimony from women who were not named in the complaints against Weinstein and ordered a new trial.

The verdict, however, does not alter a separate 16-year rape sentence handed down in California in 2022, implying that the once-untouchable Hollywood heavyweight will remain in prison.

“The accused has a right to be held to account only for the crime charged and, thus, allegations of prior bad acts may not be admitted against them for the sole purpose of establishing their propensity for criminality,” Judge Jenny Rivera wrote in an opinion for the majority.

In 2017, bombshell claims surfaced against the Academy Award-winning producer, sparking the #MeToo movement, which enabled women to fight back against workplace s-xual harassment.

Weinstein, 72, was convicted in a New York court in February 2020 of raping and s-xually assaulting ex-actress Jessica Mann in 2013 and forcibly performing oral s-x on former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006. He was eventually sentenced to 23 years in prison.

“The news today is not only disheartening, but it’s profoundly unjust,” said a statement from The Silence Breakers, a group of women who banded together to report Weinstein’s misconduct. “But this ruling does not diminish the validity of our experiences or our truth; it’s merely a setback.”

Dozens of accusers

A Los Angeles judge also convicted Weinstein of raping a woman in a Beverly Hills hotel room and sentenced him to an extra 16 years in prison.

That term was originally scheduled to be served following his New York sentence.

“The legal system has never served survivors in this country,” #MeToo founder Tarana Burke told reporters, though she added that “because these brave women in this case broke their silence, millions and millions and millions of others found the strength to come forward.”

“That will always be the victory.”

After his conviction in New York, a civil tribunal granted $17 million to scores of additional women who accused the former movie mogul of abuse.

Weinstein is not the first high-profile figure convicted following the #MeToo movement to have his conviction reversed.

Bill Cosby, a comedian, was found guilty in 2018 of drugging and s-xually assaulting a woman, but Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled that he was given a fair trial and released him.


‘Psychological trauma’

“With today’s decision, this Court continues to thwart the steady gains survivors of s-xual violence have fought for in our criminal justice system,” Judge Madeline Singas, who dissented against the ruling, said.

“Forgotten are the women who bear the psychological trauma of s-xual violence and the scars of testifying again, and again.”

The Court of Appeals’ decision to overturn the conviction was based on the fact that the trial judge allowed prosecutors to rely on so-called “Molineux witnesses,” who were allowed to testify about their experiences despite not being charged against the defendant, in an exception to the normal rules of evidence.

Attorney Douglas Wigdor, who represented two such witnesses, stated that “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.”

Prior to the charges against him, the producer and his brother Bob were Hollywood’s most powerful figures.

In 1979, they co-founded Miramax Films, a distribution firm named after their parents, Miriam and Max. It was sold to Disney in 1993.

Their successes included the 1998 film “Shakespeare in Love,” for which Weinstein shared the best picture Oscar. Over the years, Weinstein’s films have received over 300 Oscar nominations and 81 statuettes.

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