Harvey Weinstein rape conviction overturned by N.Y. Court of Appeals

In a dramatic reversal of the nation’s landmark #MeToo trial, a New York appeals court on Thursday overturned the sex assault conviction of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, citing errors by the trial judge.

The state appeals court found, in a 4-3 decision, that the judge who presided over Weinstein’s 2017 trial prejudiced the disgraced Hollywood movie mogul’s case by allowing a series of women who said Weinstein had assaulted them to serve as witnesses, even though their allegations were not part of the case.

“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 court said.

The court ordered a new trial, arguing that the “synergistic effect of these errors was not harmless.”

“The only evidence against defendant was the complainants’ testimony, and the result of the court’s rulings, on the one hand, was to bolster their credibility and diminish defendant’s character before the jury,” the court added.

The Miramax co-founder has been serving a 23-year sentence since he was convicted in 2020 of rape and a felony sex crime after allegedly assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haley and once-aspiring actress Jessica Mann.

Weinstein, who has denied all wrongdoing, appealed in 2021, citing a series of issues, including errors at trial.

In the 160-page appeal, Weinstein’s legal team once again attacked the credibility of the six women who testified at his 2020 trial in lower Manhattan. While most of the allegations were at least corroborated by the testimony of others whom the women told of the alleged assaults around the time they took place, Weinstein’s legal team questioned why they stayed in contact with the mogul — or in some cases, continued having sex with him — after the alleged crimes.

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