Harvey Weinstein's NY judge shouldn't have allowed 'prejudicial' testimony from women who said they, too, had been abused: appeals court

  • New York's top court overturned the 2020 sex crimes conviction against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

  • The court said the trial made an error by allowing accusers who weren't a part of the complaint to testify.

  • The Manhattan district attorney's office indicated it wants to retry the case.

Harvey Weinstein's sex crimes conviction was overturned Thursday by the New York Court of Appeals, which found that he hadn't gotten a fair trial.

In its 4-3 decision, the appeals court found Weinstein's trial judge had erred in allowing accusers who were not listed as a part of the criminal charges against him to testify about their own experiences.

"We conclude that the trial court erroneously admitted testimony of uncharged, alleged prior sexual acts against persons other than the complainants," the appeals court said in part, calling the testimony in question "irrelevant, prejudicial, and untested allegations of prior bad acts."

It will be up to the Office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, which brought the flash point #MeToo case against Weinstein, to retry the case. If that happens, the sexual assault survivors involved will have to relive the experience of testifying at trial.

"We will do everything in our power to retry this case, and remain steadfast in our commitment to survivors of sexual assault," a spokesperson from the district attorney's office said.

Weinstein's lawyer, Arthur Aidala, who represented the ex-movie mogul in his New York appeal, said at a press conference Thursday that he "knew that Harvey Weinstein did not get a fair trial."

Following his conviction in New York, a Los Angeles court in 2023 sentenced Weinstein to an additional 16 years in prison — which he continues to face despite his successful appeal in New York.

He had been found guilty there of three counts of sexual assault and rape.

The founder and president of RAINN, the anti-sexual violence organization, said in a statement that he supported calls for the New York case to be retried.

"Overturning the conviction of Harvey Weinstein is a horrible decision that does not protect due process—it upends justice for the survivors of his crimes," RAINN's Scott Berkowitz said. "Harvey Weinstein was fairly convicted and deserves to be punished for all his crimes."

Berkowitz also issued support for "the survivors who bravely testified against Weinstein and are now seeing that bravery turned into a legal loophole."

Weinstein's lengthy list of accusers included Hollywood household names like Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Lupita Nyong'o, and Rose McGowan.

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