Harvey Weinstein appeals rape, sexual assault conviction

He was found guilty of a first-degree criminal sex act that occurred in 2006 in which he sexually assaulted production assistant Mimi Haleyi.

Updated: January 10, 2023 - 6:32pm

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Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein on Tuesday asked the New York Court of Appeals to overturn his 2020 convictions for rape and sexual assault and grant a new trial.

Judge James Burke, Weinstein argues, gave in "to the pressure of an influential social movement determined to punish centuries of male misbehavior by setting an example in convicting one man," according to the New York Post.

"The trial judge disregarded basic rules of NY law and allowed into evidence acts of misconduct which prevented Mr. Weinstein from testifying in his own defense to powerfully proclaim his innocence," Weinstein lawyer Arthur Aidala told The Post. The judge allowed four women to testify about sexual misconduct allegations for which he did not face any charges.

Weinstein became the symbolic face of the #MeToo movement after numerous women came forward with allegations about misconduct.

He was found guilty of a first-degree criminal sex act that occurred in 2006 in which he sexually assaulted production assistant Mimi Haleyi. He was further convicted of third-degree rape of hairstylist Jessica Mann in a 2013 incident. He was, however, acquitted of predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape.

A Los Angeles jury found him guilty in December of 2022 on one count of rape and two counts of sexual assault in connection with separate incidents. In that trial, Weinstein's attorneys argued that transactional sex was normal in Hollywood and that his accusers had changed their stories to conform with the #MeToo narrative.

They further contended that Weinstein's accusers had sought professional benefits from their association with the producer and derided his appearance as evidence that their sexual interactions were the product of professional ambitions rather than lust.

"Look at my client. He's not Brad Pitt or George Clooney. Do you think these beautiful women had sex with him because he's hot? No, it's because he's powerful," attorney Mark Werksman said during the trial.