Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein Sex-Crimes Conviction Thrown Out by New York High Court

Author: Editors Desk, Erin Mulvaney Source: WSJ:
April 25, 2024 at 10:45
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Court rules disgraced film producer didn’t receive a fair trial, orders new proceedings

Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 conviction for sex crimes was overturned Thursday by New York’s highest court, a decision that upends one of the leading cases of the #MeToo movement.

The court, in a divided ruling, said a trial judge committed fundamental errors, including admitting testimony that shouldn’t have been allowed.

“The remedy for these egregious errors is a new trial,” the court said.

A New York jury had found Weinstein guilty of two charges and acquitted him of others after a six-week trial. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison. 

Thursday’s ruling won’t make Weinstein a free man. In a separate case, a California jury convicted Weinstein of sex crimes in 2022. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Neither a Weinstein representative nor the Manhattan district attorney’s office responded to requests for comment.

The Oscar-winning producer’s empire fell when dozens of women, including Hollywood actresses, came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. The allegations sparked a movement that placed a spotlight on pervasive sexual harassment in many industries.

Writing for a 4-to-3 majority Thursday, Judge Jenny Rivera said the trial court improperly allowed testimony from women who spoke about alleged past acts by Weinstein that weren’t charged in the case. 

“Under our system of justice, 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,” Rivera wrote.

Dissenting judges said the ruling endangered decades of progress in sex-crimes cases.

“With today’s decision, this Court continues to thwart the steady gains survivors of sexual violence have fought for in our criminal justice system,” Judge Madeline Singas wrote.

Updates to follow as news develops

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