Trials & Litigation

NY appeals court overturns Harvey Weinstein's rape conviction

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Harvey Weinstein

The Manhattan district attorney's office has pledged to retry Harvey Weinstein. (Photo by ETIENNE LAURENT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction was overturned Thursday by the New York Court of Appeals, a shocking reversal of a landmark case that helped launch the #MeToo movement.

The court ordered a retrial, ruling that the judge in Weinstein’s original trial improperly allowed testimony about allegations that weren’t part of the case.

“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 court wrote in its 4-3 decision.

Weinstein will remain in prison regardless because he is serving a 16-year sentence on a separate case in California, where he was convicted in 2022 of rape, forced oral copulation and sexual misconduct.

In New York, the disgraced producer was originally sentenced to 23 years in prison. He was convicted of forcibly performing oral sex on a former production assistant, Mimi Haleyi, at his apartment in 2006, as well as rape in the third degree for an attack on aspiring actress Jessica Mann at a hotel in 2013.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office, which prosecuted this case, pledged to retry Weinstein.

“We will do everything in our power to retry this case, and remain steadfast in our commitment to survivors of sexual assault,” a spokesman for the office said in a statement Thursday.

Dissenting judge Madeline Singas wrote in her opinion that reversing Weinstein’s conviction amounted to “whitewashing the facts to conform to a he-said/she-said narrative” and “continued a disturbing trend of overturning juries’ guilty verdicts in cases involving sexual violence.”

Sexual violence survivors and their advocates condemned the court’s reversal as a step back for the #MeToo movement, which increased awareness and conversations about assault and harassment after the New York Times and the New Yorker first publicized accusations against Weinstein in 2017.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the country, called the ruling “a horrible decision that does not protect due process.”

“It upends justice for the survivors of his crimes,” Scott Berkowitz, RAINN founder and president, said in a statement. “Harvey Weinstein was fairly convicted and deserves to be punished for all his crimes.”

Shayna Jacobs contributed to this report.

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