Appeals Court Overturns Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 Rape Conviction

New York’s highest court on Thursday overturned Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction, per the Associated Press. The trial against the ex-movie mogul was a critical legal moment for the #MeToo movement.

Ultimately, the appeals court ruled that the judge prejudiced Harvey with “egregious” improper rulings. One of the rulings mentioned involved letting women testify about allegations that weren’t part of the case.

Background On The Ex-Hollywood Royalty

Allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein first bubbled up in 2017. By the time some of these women testified on the witness stand, nearly 100 women had come forward, according to the New York Times.

The trial, though, was centered on allegations by Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann. Three other women also testified. He was given 23 years in prison for first-degree criminal sexual acts and third-degree rape for crimes in 2006 and 2013.

RELATED: Harvey Weinstein Sentenced To 23 Years In Prison

On Thursday, this is what the court’s majority had to say about the additional women who testified.

“It is an abuse of judicial discretion to permit untested allegations of nothing more than bad behavior that destroys a defendant’s character but sheds no light on their credibility as related to the criminal charges lodged against them.”

Here’s What Next For Harvey Weinstein

The New York appeals court has ruled that the next step for Harvey and prosecutors is “a new trial.”

“We conclude that the trial court erroneously admitted testimony of uncharged, alleged prior sexual acts against persons other than the complainants of the underlying crimes,” the court’s 4-3 decision said. “The remedy for these egregious errors is a new trial.”

Despite the overturned 2020 conviction, Harvey Weinstein has to remain behind bars. That’s because a Los Angeles court convicted him of rape in 2022–sentencing him to 16 years in prison. Note that one of the women who testified in New York had her charges against Weinstein in Los Angeles dropped.

Weinstein is incarcerated in New York at the Mohawk Correctional Facility, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Albany. He maintains his innocence. He contends any sexual activity was consensual.

The reversal of Weinstein’s conviction is the second major #MeToo setback in the last two years after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a Pennsylvania court decision to throw out Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction.

RELATED: London Judge Overturns Vybz Kartel’s Murder Conviction After Dancehall Artist Appealed 

Associated Press staff Michael R. Sisak, Dave Collins, Jocelyn Noveck, and Larry Neumeister contributed to this story.

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