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Harvey Weinstein appeals sexual misconduct, rape convictions

By
Don Jacobson
Film producer Harvey Weinstein left Manhattan Court on January 10, 2020, as jury selection was underway in his sexual misconduct trial. He was convicted the next month and sentenced to 23 years in prison. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Film producer Harvey Weinstein left Manhattan Court on January 10, 2020, as jury selection was underway in his sexual misconduct trial. He was convicted the next month and sentenced to 23 years in prison. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

April 5 (UPI) -- Attorneys for former movie producer Harvey Weinstein on Monday appealed his conviction last year on charges of criminal sexual misconduct and rape.

Weinstein's lawyers filed a 166-page brief in New York's Manhattan Supreme Court laying out a total of seven grounds for overturning his February 2020 sexual misconduct convictions, which earned the Academy Award-winning producer a 23-year prison sentence.

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His conviction stemming from two cases in 2006 and 2013 and involving two women was a landmark victory for the global #MeToo movement, which began with the start of his case in 2017.

Multiple other women testified against Weinstein at his trial as prosecutors aimed to demonstrate a pattern of sexual misconduct. He was convicted on charges of committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree and third-degree rape, but acquitted on counts of predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape.

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In their appeal, Weinstein's attorneys claimed he was denied a fair trial in part because the trial judge refused to dismiss a juror who had lied about writing a book about older men preying on younger women.

The juror, they claimed, was untruthful about the substance of the book during jury selection and "lied to the court about reading and reviewing books online during the trial about the very same topics involved in the trial."

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They also claimed sensational media coverage of the case created "carnival-like conditions" in which the jury was forced to face a "barrage of improper influence and outright intimidation," and asserted Weinstein was prevented from mounting a defense against a prosecution expert witness.

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His right to a fair trial was also violated by the trial judge's decisions allowing prosecutors to focus on his past actions rather than confining testimony to the offenses under question, they claimed.

More than 80 woman have accused Weinstein of sexual abuse or rape since the first accusations surfaced.

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