He was found guilty of rape and sexual assault in a landmark trial. Now, former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein wants to clear his name.
He was found guilty of rape and sexual assault in a landmark trial. Now, former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein wants to clear his name.

Weinstein appeals rape conviction

Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has appealed his rape and sexual assault convictions in an attempt to have his 23-year prison sentence overturned.

Lawyers for Weinstein, who was last year found guilty of rape and sex crimes after a landmark verdict, claimed that the movie producer was denied a fair trial.

In a New York court filing, Weinstein's legal team argued that several women who had accused Weinstein of sexual assault - and whose allegations were not included in the charges - should not have been allowed to testify.

"The American criminal justice system was designed to convict defendants based on their conduct - not their general character," Weinstein's lawyers wrote in their appeal.

They argued that the impartiality of the jury was compromised by a juror who had written a book about older men preying on younger women.

Weinstein's legal team had tried unsuccessfully to have the juror dismissed ahead of the trial.

"Based on the imminent publication of her book, she had a pecuniary motive to convict the defendant," Weinstein's lawyers wrote.

Pulp Fiction producer Weinstein, 69, was found guilty of a criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree in February 2020. He was cleared of predatory sexual assault charges.

Nearly 90 women, including Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek, made sexual misconduct allegations against Weinstein, the Oscar-winning producer of numerous Hollywood movies.

The trial, however, focused on charges related to two.

Weinstein was convicted of raping actor Jessica Mann in 2013 and of forcibly performing oral sex on production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006.

In the appeal, Weinstein's lawyers accused Judge James Burke of passing an "unduly harsh and excessive" sentence.

Weinstein, who appeared frail at his trial and used a walking frame, is being held at a maximum-security prison in upstate New York.

He is also awaiting trial in Los Angeles on rape and sexual assault charges involving five women.

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.   

Originally published as 'Unfair': Weinstein appeals rape conviction



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