A New York City appeals court on Thursday upheld Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 sex crimes conviction, increasing the likelihood that the disgraced film producer will serve a significant portion of his 23-year sentence.
As of last summer, Mr. Weinstein, 70, has been awaiting trial in Los Angeles, where he was charged with multiple counts of violent rape and violent oral copulation, as well as other counts related to sex crimes. A hearing date is expected to be set later this month.
The New York decision had been eagerly awaited by the state’s legal community, particularly after hearings in December, when members of the five-judge panel hearing the case were skeptical of some of the trial judge’s decisions.
But the decision on Thursday was unanimous – and clear.
“We reject the defendant’s arguments and affirm the conviction in all respects,” wrote Judge Angela M. Mazzarelli, the author of the opinion.
An attorney for Mr. Weinstein said his legal team would ask New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, to review the confirmation. This court will not automatically accept the case.
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“We are clearly disappointed with the Court’s decision and look forward to asking the Court of Appeals to consider what we believe to be significant meritable points of law,” said Attorney Barry Kamins. “Mr. Weinstein will continue to pursue all available remedies to establish that he did not receive a fair trial.”
Reports of Mr. Weinstein sexually abusing women appeared in the New York Times in the fall of 2017, prompting dozens of others to speak out about their own experiences and eventually igniting the so-called #MeToo movement, a global denunciation of sexual misconduct by those in power Men .
The Weinstein case led to a cascade of allegations against other prominent figures and widespread discussion about the ubiquity of sexual harassment and assault and the damage such behavior caused.
Less than a year later, Mr. Weinstein was indicted by the Manhattan Attorney’s Office and charged with sex crimes.
His trial began in January 2020, and late the following month a jury found him guilty of two felonies: a first-degree criminal sex act and a third-degree rape. He was acquitted of two charges of predatory sexual assault. In March he was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Former Manhattan district attorney who indicted Mr. Weinstein, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., said Thursday the appeals court’s decision was a “relief,” but added that he had always been confident in the strength of the evidence.
“The trial court rendered balanced judgments and afforded the defendant a fair trial in all respects,” Vance said. “Most of all, I am grateful that the Court of Appeal took account of the women’s testimony in formulating its legal analysis.”
His successor, Alvin L. Bragg, added that the Court of Appeals upheld “a monumental conviction that has transformed the way prosecutors and courts approach complex prosecutions of sex offenders.”
Attorneys for Mr. Weinstein appealed his conviction in April 2021, arguing that three women who accused Mr. Weinstein of sexual assaults for which he was not charged should never have testified and that prosecutors “respected Weinstein’s character and not.” checked his behavior”.
But Judge Mazzarelli said the women provided “useful information” and their reports were key to revealing Mr. Weinstein’s patterns of behavior. They showed, she said, that Mr. Weinstein didn’t see his victims as “romantic partners or friends,” but that “his goal was always to position the women so that he could have sex with them, and that if the women consented.” or not, he didn’t care.”
She said the witnesses helped the jury understand the dynamic between Mr. Weinstein and his victims, particularly because the women he accused of assault continued to have relationships with him afterward.