A New York appeals court has upheld Harvey Weinstein’s rape and sexual assault conviction, rejecting the disgraced media mogul’s appeal that suggested a judge unfairly tilted the outcome of his trial in favor of the prosecution.
The unanimous ruling by a five-justice appellate panel found the judge’s actions were appropriate and did not warrant overturning Weinstein’s 23-year sentence.
Weinstein’s appeal was filed last April, a little more than a year after he was convicted of a first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape. The arguments were rejected in a 45-page ruling published Thursday.
“We are obviously disappointed in the court’s decision and look forward to asking the Court of Appeals to review what we believe are substantial meritorious legal issues,” said Barry Kamins, a partner at Aidala, Bertuna and Kamins who represents Weinstein, in a statement. “Mr. Weinstein will continue to pursue all available legal remedies to establish that he did not receive a fair trial.”
Weinstein’s attorneys had argued in his appeal that errors by the trial judge made it impossible for Weinstein to receive a fair trial. They also said prosecutors should not have been allowed to call witnesses to testify about conduct for which Weinstein wasn’t charged. And they said one juror should have been removed from the case because she wrote a book that involved “predatory men” and misled the court about the book’s contents.
In the ruling Thursday, Justice Angela Mazzarelli wrote on behalf of the court that the trial judge had used discretion in the material allowed during the trial. She also noted that while the juror’s novel was about teenage girls who have a relationship with an older man, the situation depicted wasn’t predatory.
“We perceive no basis for reducing the sentence, and we have considered defendant’s remaining arguments and find them unavailing,” Mazzarelli wrote.