New York Appeals court overturns film producer Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction

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NEW YORK: New York’s highest court on Thursday overturned American film producer Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 conviction on felony sex crime charges. The court’s decision comes as a stunning reversal in the foundational case of the #MeToo era, The New York Times reported.

In a 4-3 decision, the New York Court of Appeals found that the trial judge who presided over Weinstein’s case had made a mistake by permitting prosecutors to testify a series of women who said Weinstein had assaulted them, however, accusations of those were not part of the charges against him.

Citing the trial judge’s decision and others it identified as mistakes, the appeals court stated that Weinstein, who as a movie producer had been one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, did not receive a fair trial. The four judges in the majority stated that Weinstein was not tried solely on the crimes he was charged with, but instead for much of his past behaviour.

Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin L Bragg, will now decide whether to seek a retrial of Weinstein, according to The New York Times report. Notably, Bragg is already in the midst of a trial against US President Donald Trump.

It is not clear yet how the decision would impact Harvey Weinstein (71), who is being held in an upstate prison in Rome city in New York. However, he is not a free man as in addition to the possibility that the district attorney’s office might conduct his re-trial, Weinstein was sentenced to 16 years in prison in California in 2022 after he was convicted of raping a woman in a Beverly Hills hotel.

Weinstein was accused of sexual misconduct by more than 100 women. He was convicted of assaulting two of them in New York. The Court of Appeals decision complicates the story of Weinstein and demonstrates the difficulty in legal system in providing redress to those who say that have been the victims of sex crimes. The decision of the court comes more than four years after a New York jury found Weinstein guilty, according to The New York Times report.

The overturning of Weinstein’s New York sex crimes conviction and the ordering of a new trial might feel like a shocking turn as he has become a fully disgraced figure in the minds of people. Furthermore, he has been sentenced to long prison terms in two cities based on the public testimonies of nearly 100 alleged victims whose stories were the basis of the #MeToo movement. However, the New York conviction of Weinstein in the legal terms was always controversial and his appeals always had a chance, reported The New York Times. (ANI)

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