Harvey Weinstein conviction overturned: Here’s what why it was dropped


In a stunning reversal of one of the most significant rulings in the “MeToo” movement, New York’s Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned disgraced former film producer Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 conviction on rape and sexual assault charges, though Weinstein still faces a sentence on similar charges in Los Angeles, and could be re-tried in New York.

Disgraced former film producer Harvey Weinstein’s conviction on sexual assault charges in New York was overturned on Thursday.

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Oct. 5, 2017The New York Times published a report detailing a series of Weinstein’s unwanted sexual advances, including sexual harassment and assault, toward multiple women over the span of nearly three decades, with sources telling the Times that Weinstein reached at least eight settlements to conceal multiple instances of abuse and that the companies he co-founded, Miramax and the Weinstein Company, covered up those allegations.

Weinstein told the Times he acknowledged his past behavior “has caused a lot of pain” and said he was “trying to do better.”

Oct. 10, 2017Just five days later, The New Yorker published another bombshell report, citing interviews with 13 women who said they were victims of Weinstein from the 1990s to 2015, including three who said Weinstein raped them and four who described incidents of unwanted touching.

May 25, 2018Police in New York arrested Weinstein on rape and criminal sexual act charges, stemming from allegations made by actress Jessica Mann and marketing executive Lucia Evans—Weinstein was released on a $1 million cash bail.

May 30, 2018Weinstein was indicted by a grand jury in New York on rape and criminal sexual act charges, and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

July 2, 2018Prosecutors in New York charged Weinstein with two additional counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of a criminal sexual act, and while the victim in question was not immediately disclosed, she was later identified as Mimi Haley, a former production assistant on “Project Runway.”

Oct. 11, 2018One of the counts against Weinstein, the charge of forcible oral sex stemming from allegations from Evans, was dismissed after prosecutors said a lead detective withheld critical information questioning Evans’ allegation.

Jan. 6, 2020Weinstein was indicted in Los Angeles in a separate case on charges of rape and sexual assault over allegations made by four women whose names were kept anonymous—Weinstein pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Jan. 6, 2020Weinstein’s New York trial began.

Jan. 27, 2020Haley testified in New York that Weinstein forcibly assaulted her after she made an attempt to reject his sexual advances at his Manhattan apartment in 2006, where she said Weinstein non-consensually performed oral sex on her.

Jan. 31, 2020Taking the witness stand, Mann testified that Weinstein raped her in a New York City hotel room in 2013, when she was 27, and testified that Weinstein demanded she get in bed at a Los Angeles hotel room where she said he performed oral sex on her, part of what Mann described as a series of unwanted sexual advances.

Feb. 24, 2020Weinstein was convicted by a jury in New York which found him guilty on one count of committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree and one count of rape in the third degree—Weinstein was found not guilty on two other counts of predatory sexual assault, which carried a maximum sentence of life in prison.

March 11, 2020Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison in his New York case.

April 5, 2021Weinstein appealed his conviction in New York on the grounds that multiple women who testified against him made accusations not relevant to the charges in the case—though a New York appellate court later rejected the bid, upholding Weinstein’s conviction.

Oct. 10, 2022Weinstein’s Los Angeles trial opened with jury selection.

Dec. 19, 2022A Los Angeles jury found Weinstein guilty on one count of rape and two counts of sexual assault, stemming from allegations from an anonymous woman referred to as Jane Doe 1, who accused Weinstein of forcible rape and oral copulation, as well as sexual penetration by a foreign object.

Weinstein was acquitted on one count of sexual battery by restraint—from a woman referred to as Jane Doe 2—while the jury was hung on three other counts after nine days of deliberation over allegations from women known as Jane Doe 3 and Jane Doe 4, who was identified by her lawyers as Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Jan. 10, 2023Weinstein’s legal team appealed his 2020 sexual assault and rape conviction in New York, requesting the conviction be tossed and the former Hollywood producer be charged on just one count of a criminal sexual act—Weinstein’s lawyers argued the rape charge falls outside the state’s statute of limitations and claimed the trial proceedings were unfair because prosecutors had used testimony from women whose allegations were separate from the New York charges.

Feb. 23, 2023Weinstein was sentenced to 16 years in prison in his Los Angeles case to be served “consecutively after” his 23-year New York sentence, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench ruled.

News Peg

New York’s Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, overturned Weinstein’s 2020 rape and sexual assault conviction in a 4-3 vote Thursday morning. The panel of judges ruled Thursday that the judge overseeing the momentous 2020 case made a critical error in allowing prosecutors to bring witnesses who accused Weinstein of sexual assault even though their allegations were unrelated to the charges at hand. According to the court, those testimonies constituted “propensity evidence,” a decision celebrated by Weinstein’s lawyer Arthur Aidala, who told the New York Times the ruling was “not just a victory for Mr. Weinstein, but for every criminal defendant in the state of New York.” Weinstein still faces 16 years in prison from his California case.

What To Watch For

After Thursday’s ruling, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg now has the ability to seek another trial for Weinstein on rape and sexual assault charges, though he has not yet indicated whether his office will seek that.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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