Harvey Weinstein appeals his rape conviction, claiming he didn’t get a fair trial
Harvey Weinstein has filed an appeal on his rape and sex crimes conviction, claiming he didn’t receive a fair trial and that the incidents were ‘indisputably consensual’ and that many of the women who gave evidence at his trial just think he is ‘loathsome’.
The disgraced movie mogul’s lawyers filed a 166-page appeal in Manhattan on Monday, in which they claimed the judge allowed too much testimony about Weinstein’s reputation and character.
Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison. He is already 69 and, as his lawyers routinely pointed out during the trial, in poor health.
Weinstein was convicted of one count of criminal sexual assault in the first degree and one count of rape in the third degree last February. He was cleared of three other charges. He was sentenced on March 11.
‘Simply put, the prosecution tried Weinstein’s character, not his conduct,’ his attorneys said in their appeal on Monday.
‘With a year behind us and emotions subsided, the transcript of the case confirms what we always believed: that Mr. Weinstein did not receive a fair trial… We have the utmost confidence that the Appellate Division will correct these mistakes and send this case back before a different judge, ‘ they said.
They say the jury ignored the facts of the case, focusing instead on the public persona of Weinstein that had been created, and that the incidents themselves were ‘indisputably’ consensual.
Harvey Weinstein with his walker at court in February last year. He has filed an appeal on his rape and sex crimes conviction, claiming he didn’t receive a fair trial
Weinstein was convicted of raping Jessica Mann (left) and forcibly performing oral sex on Mimi Haleyi (right). Both women agreed to be identified as part of the case and they both gave evidence
They also argue that it was unfair for the court not to rule out a juror who had written a book about predatory older men and younger women, who Weinstein’s team had objected to.
‘Harvey Weinstein’s alleged behavior toward women in the film industry became a cause celebre in 2017.
‘Advocacy journalists published many unvetted allegations against Mr. Weinstein; within months, a new movement was spawned, known under the meme, #MeToo.
‘The vast majority of the allegations described socalled inappropriate, but noncriminal behavior.
‘As a result, Mr. Weinstein was ultimately fired from the company he built, and those who claim they were victimized by sexual importunities are suing for financial compensation.
‘A man who once stood as a giant in Hollywood is now scorned and treated as a pariah,’ his attorneys wrote.
Weinstein said it wasn’t fair other accusers like Annabella Sciorra, whose claims were not being prosecuted, were allowed to give evidence
Weinstein was put on trial for alleged crimes against two different women; Jessica Mann, who said he raped her in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013, and Mimi Haleyi, who said he forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006.
Those were the only allegations that were prosecuted but dozens more women have publicly alleged he sexually assaulted or harassed them.
At the trial, other women whose claims were not being prosecuted were invited to give evidence.
That included Annabella Sciorra, who said Weinstein raped her in her apartment in the early 1990s.
Her claims fell outside of New York’s statute of limitations so was not included.
Weinstein’s attorneys claimed in their appeal that the two incidents over which he was charged were ‘indisputably’ consensual.
‘Because the evidence on the charged offenses was weak, the prosecution inundated the jury with copious tales of alleged misconduct (much of which was not criminal in nature) that served no legitimate evidentiary purpose but merely depicted Weinstein as loathsome,’ they said.
They also said the trial became like a ‘carnival’ because of the media attention and that his right to a fair trial was ‘woefully neglected’.
‘The trial court should have exercised the utmost vigilance in protecting this most important right of the defendant.
Instead, the trial court was cavalier in its obligation to safeguard this right and the consequences for Mr. Weinstein were disastrous,’ they said.
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