The Memo: Harvey Weinstein rape conviction overturned by New York court

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Harvey Weinstein rape conviction overturned by New York court

Tyler Rigby - 6 May 2024

In a highly publicised, landmark case during Hollywood’s #MeToo movement, movie producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of two sex crimes and sentenced to 23 years in prison. Survivors of sexual violence considered this 2020 verdict to be a major victory and a crucial step in holding people in positions of power accountable for their actions. However, that mood has quickly soured as New York’s Court of Appeals has, in a four-to-three decision, overturned the conviction, meaning the case will now require a retrial.  

The verdict was justified by the court who claimed that the original trial prejudiced the Oscar winner by allowing alleged victims of Weinstein to testify even though they were not involved in the 2020 indictment. One of these women was involved in a further case in LA in which Weinstein was acquitted. By involving these other testimonials, the court felt Weinstein was judged on unsubstantiated claims as opposed to the charges he was facing in the moment. Essentially, the decision demonstrates that one does not necessarily have to be proven innocent to reverse a conviction, especially when an argument can be made based on legal technicalities instead. 

Weinstein is not to be released, however, and will remain incarcerated during the trial while he serves a 16-year rape sentence he received in 2022. He will be moved to a facility in New York for the hearings. The retrial is sure to be under scrutiny as the prosecution will aim to present a watertight case that will close what is a painful chapter for many.