NEW YORK – A New York appeals courtroom upheld Harvey Weinstein’s rape conviction and 23-year jail sentence Thursday, rejecting the film magnate’s claims that the decide at his landmark #MeToo trial prejudiced him by means of permitting ladies to testify about allegations that weren’t a part of the legal case.
The ruling by means of a five-judge panel within the state’s intermediate appeals courtroom affirmed some of the highest-profile verdicts up to now in America’s reckoning with sexual misconduct by means of tough figures — an generation that started with a flood of allegations towards Weinstein.
Weinstein’s publicist, Juda Engelmayer, mentioned he’s reviewing his choices and can search to enchantment the verdict to the state’s best possible courtroom, the Court of Appeals.
“We are disappointed, but not surprised,” Engelmayer mentioned.
Weinstein, 70, used to be convicted in New York in February 2020 of a legal intercourse act for forcibly appearing oral intercourse on a TV and picture manufacturing assistant in 2006 and raping an aspiring actress in 2013.
He used to be acquitted of rape and predatory sexual attack stemming from actor Annabella Sciorra’s allegations about an come across within the mid-Nineteen Nineties. The Associated Press does no longer usually determine folks alleging sexual assualt until they consent to be named; Sciorra has spoken publicly about her allegations.
Weinstein is jailed in California, the place he used to be extradited remaining yr and is looking forward to trial on fees he assaulted 5 ladies in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills from 2004 to 2013.
In a 45-page ruling, the appellate courtroom mentioned trial Judge James Burke correctly exercised his discretion in permitting prosecutors to reinforce their case with testimony from 3 ladies who accused Weinstein of violated them however whose claims didn’t result in fees within the New York case.
The judges mentioned that even supposing the quantity of subject material, pertaining to twenty-eight alleged acts over 30 years, used to be “unquestionably large, and, at first blush, perhaps appears to be troublingly so,” Burke correctly exercised his discretion in weighing its relevance to the case.
The judges have been way more vital all the way through oral arguments in December, wondering plenty of Burke’s rulings, together with person who cleared the best way for prosecutors to confront Weinstein with proof about different, unrelated misbehavior if he had testified.
The judges, echoing issues from Weinstein’s attorneys, mentioned on the time that the ruling had successfully muted his protection.
On Thursday, the panel additionally rejected Weinstein’s argument that Burke used to be mistaken in alternative ways: by means of permitting a girl who had written a singular involving predatory older males to stay at the jury, and by means of letting prosecutors have knowledgeable on sufferer habits and rape myths testify. Burke didn’t permit testimony on equivalent topics from protection professionals.
Weinstein’s conviction, heralded by means of activists and advocates as a milestone fulfillment, used to be dissected simply as briefly by means of protection attorneys searching for to spring him from what might be the remainder of his lifestyles in the back of bars.
Rules on calling further witnesses to testify about “prior bad acts” range by means of state and had been a subject matter in Bill Cosby’s a success enchantment of his sexual attack conviction in Pennsylvania.
New York’s laws, formed by means of a choice in a 1901 poisoning case, are a number of the extra restrictive.
At the December appeals courtroom listening to, Weinstein’s attorneys argued the additional testimony went past what’s generally allowed — detailing reason, alternative, intent or a not unusual scheme or plan — and necessarily put the ex-studio boss on trial for crimes he wasn’t charged with and hadn’t had a chance to shield himself towards.
Burke’s ruling, which allowed prosecutors to make use of tales from Weinstein’s previous to assault his credibility, labored to forestall him from taking the witness stand, Weinstein attorney Barry Kamins informed the appellate panel on the December listening to.
“The jury was overwhelmed by such prejudicial, bad evidence,” Kamins argued. “This was a trial of Harvey Weinstein’s character. The people were making him out to be a bad person.”
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