Harvey Weinstein Finally Files LA Rape Conviction Appeal As NYC Retrial Looms In The Fall

Ever since Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault by a Los Angeles jury in late 2022, the once menacing mogul’s attorneys have swore they would be appealing the matter.

Today they finally did, and they made damn sure to hitch the appeal to the April overturning of Weinstein’s 2020 multiple sex crime convictions by a New York jury.

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A shocker in some circles and seen as inevitable by others, the order saw a divided Empire State Appeals Court throw out the third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sexual act verdicts and Weinstein’s 23-year sentence. In a 4-3 ruling this past spring, the Appeals Court determined the presiding trial judge improperly allowed “testimony of uncharged, alleged prior sexual acts against persons other than the complainants of the underlying crimes.”

The New York Court of Appeals  order a new trial for Weinstein too. As that matter heads back to court, the battle for Weinstein and for survivors has returned to the West Coast.

“Factual innocence aside, Defendant’s guarantee of a fair and impartial trial was doomed from the start when his jury learned during jury selection that Defendant was previously convicted of rape in the state of New York – evidence that was never introduced at trial,” declared Weinstein’s LA lawyers Jennifer Bonjean and Michael J Freedman in the opening brief filed today in California’s Second Appellate District. “Because the jury possessed extrinsic information about a now-vacated prior rape conviction that Defendant had no opportunity to challenge, Defendant’s entire trial process was infected.”

Read Harvey Weinstein’s appeal of his West Coast rape conviction and 16-year prison sentence hear

Currently behind bars at Rikers Island and in constant touch with his NYC attorneys, Weinstein’s NYC retrial is expected to start in September. Appearing in court on May 29, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Nicole Blumberg emphasized that Alvin Bragg’s office may bring new indictments against the now 72-years-old Weinstein, who as sitting close by. The much accused Pulp Fiction EP is supposed to return to court in NYC on July 9.

After a nearly two-month Los Angeles trial with more than few breaks, the jury found Weinstein guilty on December 19 2022 on all counts in relation to Jane Doe #1. At the same time, the panel of eight men and four women in the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center determined the producer was not guilty of sexual battery of Jane Doe #2, and they were deadlocked on charges on Jane Doe #3 and Jane Doe #4, that latter being California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

Following some delays, Judge Lisa B. Lench sentenced Weinstein on February 23, 2023 to 16 years in prison for rape and other sex crimes. Not long afterwards, the on-and-off ailing Weinstein was sent back to  the medium security Mohawk Correctional Facility in upstate New York to serve out his 2020 sentence.

In the case of the LA charges and trial, Italian model Jane Doe #1 has said again and again that Weinstein barged into her hotel room during the 2013 Los Angeles Italia Film Festival and “raped her for over an hour.”

At 163-pages, the not-so-brief appeal document goes right at that and stated “the jury was misled about JD1’s truthfulness and precluded from considering game-changing evidence that pointed to Defendant’s innocence and contradicted the prosecution’s theory of guilt.”

“For all these reasons, Defendant Weinstein respectfully requests a new trial be granted,” the brief concludes. Minimally, his sentence as to Count One of the indictment must be vacated and the cause remanded for a new sentencing hearing.

The office of California Attorney General Rob Bonta will be handling the People’s side in any Weinstein defense. However, they did not reply to request for comment from Deadline on the appeal and the arguments it makes.

In the absence of anything so far from the Golden State AG, Weinstein spokesperson Juda Engelmayer stressed his client’s POV.

“Anyone watching the Los Angeles trial and remaining truly objective would agree that the prosecution and the trial judge worked hard to keep important exculpatory evidence from the jury,” he said in a statement first obtained by NBC News, who broke news of the appeal Friday. “Again, Harvey Weinstein was tried by a system devoted to ‘getting him; at all costs. This appeal demonstrates nearly a dozen areas of brazen legal misteps that violated his right to a fair trial. We know he has a solid case here.”

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