#MeToo trial: New York appeals court overturns Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction

He was sentenced to 23 years in prison

Harvey Weinstein conviction overturn (File): Former film producer Harvey Weinstein appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles | Reuters

New York appeals court on Thursday overturned Harvey Weinstein's 2020 rape conviction. The court ruled that the judge who oversaw Weinstein’s conviction was mistaken in allowing other women whose accusations were not a part of the 2020 case to testify. 

The original 2020 judgement was overturned by a single vote, the New York Times reported. The court ordered a retrial.

“[Weinstein] was convicted by a jury for various sexual crimes against three named complainants and, on appeal, claims that he was judged, not on the conduct for which he was indicted, but on irrelevant, prejudicial, and untested allegations of prior bad acts,” read the court’s ruling.

Following the conviction, Weinstein, 72, has been serving a 23-year sentence in a New York prison. The trial began in 2017, when numerous allegations were raised against Weinstein, a Hollywood producer, of sexual misconduct.

“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 … the remedy for these egregious errors is a new trial,” the decision continued,” the court’s ruling was quoted by The Guardian.

The conviction was based on charges of criminal sex act for forcibly performing oral sex on a TV and film production assistant in 2006 and rape in the third degree for an attack on an aspiring actress in 2013. 

However, he will remain imprisoned as he was convicted in Los Angeles in 2022 of another rape and sentenced to 16 years in prison. Weinstein was acquitted in Los Angeles on charges involving one of the women who testified in New York.

The overturning of Weinstein’s conviction is the second major #MeToo setback in the last two years after the US Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a Pennsylvania court decision to throw out former American comedian and actor, Bill Cosby's sexual assault conviction.

Weinstein's conviction stood for more than four years. 

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