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

In a stunning reversal in a case that helped spark the #MeToo era, a New York appeals court overturned the sex assault conviction of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, citing errors by the trial judge.

“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 in granting a new trial.

“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 and disgraced Hollywood producer was convicted of rape and a felony sex crime in February 2020 and sentenced to 23 years in a New York state prison the following month, bringing an end to a years-long saga that helped spawn the #MeToo movement as more than 80 women accused Weinstein of sexual abuse.

Weinstein appealed, 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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