Harvey Weinstein’s Sex Crimes Conviction Is Upheld by New York Court


A New York appeals court on Thursday upheld Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 conviction on felony sex crimes, increasing the likelihood that the disgraced movie producer will serve a significant portion of his 23-year sentence.

Since last summer, Mr. Weinstein, 70, has been awaiting trial in Los Angeles, where he has been charged with several counts of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation, as well as other counts related to sex crimes. A trial date is expected to be set this month.

The New York decision had been hotly anticipated by the state’s legal community, particularly after oral arguments in December, when members of the five-judge panel that heard the case seemed skeptical of some decisions made by the trial judge.

But the decision Thursday was unanimous—and clear.

“We reject defendant’s arguments, and affirm the conviction in all respects,” wrote Judge Angela M. Mazzarelli, the opinion’s author.

A lawyer for Mr. Weinstein said that his legal team would ask New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, to review the affirmation. That court will not automatically take the case.

“We are obviously disappointed in the court’s decision and look forward to asking the Court of Appeals to review what we believe are substantial meritorious legal issues,” said the lawyer, Barry Kamins. “Mr. Weinstein will continue to pursue all available legal remedies to establish that he did not receive a fair trial.”

Reports of Mr. Weinstein having sexually abused women appeared in The New York Times in fall 2017, leading dozens of others to speak about their own experiences and eventually igniting what became known as the #MeToo movement, a global repudiation of sexual misconduct by powerful men .

The Weinstein case led to a cascade of accusations against other prominent figures and widespread discussion about the ubiquity of sexual harassment and assault, and the harm such behavior caused.

Less than a year later, Mr. Weinstein was indicted by Manhattan prosecutors and charged with sex crimes.

His trial began in January 2020, and late the following month, a jury found him guilty of two felonies: a criminal sexual act in the first degree and third-degree rape. He was acquitted of two charges of predatory sexual assault. In March, he was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

The former Manhattan district attorney who charged Mr. Weinstein, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., said Thursday that the decision of the appeals court was a “relief,” but added that he had always been confident in the strength of the evidence.

“The trial court issued balanced rulings and by any measure provided the defendant a fair trial,” Mr. Vance said. “Most of all, I am grateful that the appeals court credited the testimony of the women in framing its legal analysis.”

His successor, Alvin L. Bragg, added that the appeals court had upheld “a monumental conviction that changed the way prosecutors and courts approach complex prosecutions of sexual predators.”

Mr. Weinstein’s lawyers appealed his conviction in April 2021, arguing that three women who had accused Mr. Weinstein of sexual assaults for which he was not charged should never have been allowed to testify and that prosecutors had “tried Weinstein’s character not his conduct.”

But Judge Mazzarelli said the women had provided “useful information” and that their accounts had been key in showing Mr. Weinstein’s pattern of behavior. They demonstrated, she said, that Mr. Weinstein did not see his victims as “romantic partners or friends,” but that “his goal at all times was to position the women in such a way that he could have sex with them, and that whether the women consented or not was irrelevant to him.”

She said that the witnesses had helped the jury understand the dynamic between Mr. Weinstein and his victims, particularly because the women whom he had been charged for assaulting had continued relationships with him afterward.


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