Harvey Weinstein appeals LA rape conviction weeks after New York conviction was overturned

Disgraced film producer’s lawyers are seeking a new trial in California

Graig Graziosi
Saturday 08 June 2024 16:43
Related video: Harvey Weinstein conviction overturned

Disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein has filed to appeal his rape and sexual assault conviction in California just weeks after a New York court overturned his rape conviction in that state.

Weinstein, who has been in prison since 2022, filed his appeal in Los Angeles on Friday, according to court records seen by NBC News.

He is reportedly seeking a new trial.

His publicist, Juda Engelmayer, said Weinstein's team is confident they have a "solid case."

“Harvey Weinstein was tried by a system devoted to ‘getting him’ at all costs. This appeal demonstrates nearly a dozen areas of brazen legal missteps that violated his right to a fair trial,” Mr Engelmayer told NBC News.

The appeal claims that Weinstein "stands wrongfully convicted for sexually assaulting Jane Doe 1."

Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys are seeking to have his sexual assault convictin in California overturned and are requesting a new trial
Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys are seeking to have his sexual assault convictin in California overturned and are requesting a new trial (Steven Hirsch)

He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after he was convicted in that case.

Weinstein was found not guilty of sexual battery against Jane Doe 2, and the jury could not reach a decision on whether or not he committed three other alleged sexual assaults.

The former film producer's attorneys believe that Weinstein was not given "a fair opportunity to defend against [Jane Doe 1's] allegations," and further accused the prosecution of building its case on "evidence it knew was false."

“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,” Weinstein's lawyers wrote in the appeal.

They are claiming Weinstein's Sixth Amendment right to present a defense was violated when he was not allowed to present evidence that allegedly could have helped his case.

During the initial trial, Jane Doe 1 alleged that Weinstein showed up uninvited to her Los Angeles hotel room and "raped her for over an hour" in 2013.

Her attorneys argued that the only person who knew where she was staying was the host of an Italian film festival Jane Doe 1 was attending in the city.

Weinstein's appeal accuses the prosecution of pushing a "false" theory that the event host enticed Weinstein to attend the festival by offering up the victim as "sexual bait."

The attorneys claim the prosecution did not disclose during the trial that the victim and the host of the film festival were in a romantic relationship at the time of the event. They argue that would make it unlikely that the host would have offered up the victim to Weinstein while the two were "in the throes of their own torrid affair.”

Weinstein's lawyers say without the event host's involvement, the prosecution never provided a clear explanation for how Weinstein found the victim's hotel room.

The defense team also complained that it had not been allowed to cross-examine Jane Doe 1 regarding her financial situation, including that she was allegedly facing eviction threats. The appeal claims that the jury was given "another false impression" of Jane Doe 1, "namely that she had no financial interest in the outcome of the case."

The appeal claims that “three of the jurors who sat on the Defendant’s trial immediately regretted signing a guilty verdict upon learning that they were denied critical evidence showing that" Jane Doe 1 and the film festival host “had an ongoing romantic relationship and had lied to them.” It further claims that if the jurors had access to the evidence, it "would have changed their calculus of whether any rape occurred."

“Gutting the Defendant’s defense, as the trial court did, deprived Defendant of his constitutional rights to present a defense and led to a miscarriage of justice,” the appeal says.

The attorneys are also arguing that impartiality was impossible, noting that the jurors had been told that Weinstein had been convicted in New York and claiming the prosecution had been allowed to present evidence related to Weinstein's unrelated sex offense charges to the jury.

“The introduction of this excessive, cumulative, and remote evidence of prior ‘sexual assaults’ simply signaled to the jury that the Defendant was a bad man who should be convicted of something irrespective of whether the prosecution proved its case,” the attorneys wrote.

The flurry of objections raised by Weinstein's lawyers comes just weeks after his New York conviction — which would have sent him to prison for 23 years — was overturned by an appeals court.

Weinstein may face a new trial in New York as a result. District Attorney Alvin Bragg said he would be interested in leading Weinstein's retrial, but no date has been set at this time.

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