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Harvey Weinstein’s NYC sex crimes retrial set for after Labor Day

todayMay 1, 2024

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(NEW YORK) — Harvey Weinstein is scheduled to be retried “sometime after Labor Day,” a judge said Wednesday, as the disgraced film mogul appeared in a Manhattan courtroom for the first time since the New York Court of Appeals threw out his rape conviction.

Court officers wheeled Weinstein’s wheelchair into and out of the courtroom in Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday afternoon. He sat before Judge Curtis Farber in a dark suit and tie and made no statements during his 20-minute appearance.

“It was a strong case in 2020 when the defendant was convicted and remains a strong case in 2024,” Assistant District Attorney Nicole Blumberg said.

Weinstein had been serving a 23-year prison sentence after a jury found him guilty in 2020 of sexually assaulting former production assistant Miriam Haley and raping aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013.

Mann appeared in court on Wednesday, seated in the second row near Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

“She’s here today to show that she is not backing down,” Blumberg said of Mann. “She wanted everyone to know the truth and that the defendant may have power and privilege but she has the truth.”

Defense attorney Arthur Aidala said Weinstein “proclaimed his innocence from the day I met him five years ago” and expressed doubt about the strength of the prosecution’s case, noting, “He was acquitted of the most serious counts.”

The initial trial and conviction followed an explosive New York Times article in October 2017 that reported Weinstein had reached at least eight settlements with women who accused him of sexual misconduct over decades. The story sparked an avalanche of accusations from women who came forward with similar accounts and largely kicked off the #MeToo movement, targeting prominent celebrities for sexual misconduct.

Weinstein was arrested on May 25, 2018, on charges alleging he sexually assaulted two women.

Prosecutors said the movie producer abused his power to take advantage of aspiring female actors, like the alleged victims, to coerce them into unwanted sexual encounters. According to the prosecution, the quid pro quo of assisting them with their careers in exchange for sexual favors on demand was both common behavior and a well-known secret throughout the film industry.

He was found guilty in February 2020 of two felonies — criminal sexual assault and third-degree rape. He was acquitted of the two most serious charges — predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape.

The New York Court of Appeals overturned Weinstein’s conviction on Thursday. In a 4-3 opinion, the court said they found the trial judge “erroneously” allowed three women to testify about alleged sexual assaults that were not part of the underlying criminal charges.

The Court of Appeals decided the evidence of uncharged crimes “was unnecessary” to establish Weinstein’s intent and “served only to establish defendant’s propensity to commit the crimes charged.”

The opinion said the rule against propensity evidence “serves as a judicial bulwark against a guilty verdict based on supposition rather than proof.”

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office had said following the decision that it intended to retry Weinstein if the complaining witnesses were willing to participate in another trial.

Haley is still considering whether to testify at the retrial, according to her attorney, Gloria Allred.

Weinstein, 72, remains in custody. He was transferred to Rikers Island and then the New York City jail medical unit at Bellevue Hospital Center late last week ahead of the court appearance, his spokesperson said.

Aidala said Wednesday the defense would not seek release on bail.

“Mr. Weinstein has very, very serious medical issues,” Aidala said. “He’s being treated at Bellevue Hospital.”

Aidala remarked following the court appearance that the “most obvious” difference between the two proceedings is the judge.

“[‘Farber’s] handling of the courtroom and his reputation for fairness and intelligence are exactly what we hope for in this legal process,” Aidala told reporters.

Aidala said that even if Weinstein were to lose the retrial, “he’s already served more time than the remaining minimal charge would require.”

Weinstein was also convicted of sex offenses in Los Angeles in 2022 and sentenced to 16 years in prison there.

Aidala said he’s appealing that case.

His lawyers’ appeal brief in that case is due by May 20, The Associated Press reported.

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