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Disgraced Hollywood Producer Harvey Weinstein's Conviction Overturned By An Appellate Court

New York Court Of Appeals overturned the conviction of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein on Thursday and called for a retrial. The use of “prior bad acts” by witnesses in the original trial is ruled as “unnecessary” by the court, drawing backlash from the #metoo survivors.

Harvey Weinstein was convicted of first-degree sexual assault and third-degree rape in 2020 after a former production assistant, Mimi Haleyi, and aspiring actress Jessica Man testified against him in court. However, other than the two victims, a series of witnesses were called to prove the former producer’s ill intentions toward women.

Weinstein’s attorneys appealed the conviction to the New York Court of Appeals, and the result was released on Thursday after a 4 to 3 vote.

The judge agrees that using “prior bad acts” witnesses doesn’t strengthen the evidence required for the trial. “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.” The judge continues, “The court compounded that error when it ruled that the defendant, who had no criminal history, could be cross-examined about those allegations as well as numerous allegations of misconduct that portrayed the defendant in a highly prejudicial light. The synergistic effect of these errors was not harmless.”

Weinstein’s defense attorney, Aidala, told journalists, “The witnesses were there just to make Harvey Weinstein look bad. That’s the only reason those witnesses were admitted—to show that he’s a bad guy. He was tried on his character, not the evidence.”

The Manhattan district attorney, who originally prosecuted Weinstein, expressed his shock and disappointment upon hearing the judgment: “I am deeply grateful to and humbled by the survivors who came forward in the brightest glare of a public courtroom to tell their stories at great personal cost and trauma. In my opinion, the judicial system has let them down today and did not advance justice.”

Regardless of the temporary win, Weinstin will be staying in prison, as he is sentenced to serve 16 years behind bars by the Los Angeles Court based on forced copulation and third-degree rape.

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