Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 Rape Conviction Has Been Overturned

The producer, whose conviction followed one of the most prominent cases of the #MeToo movement, will remain in prison in New York.

harvey weinstein

by Isobel Lewis |
Published on

Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 conviction for rape has been overturned by a New York court, it has been announced. Four years after the film producer was sentenced to 23 years in prison after being convicted of rape, the New York Court of Appeals has overturned the ruling on the basis that he did not receive a fair trial. Weinstein, 72, will remain in prison for a separate conviction of rape.

In the ruling on Thursday 25 April, the court ruled 4-3 in favour of Weinstein, reaching the verdict, ‘Order reversed and a new trial ordered.’ They said that during the initial trial, prosecutors had been allowed to call witnesses with accusations that were not part of the trial. As a result, they said, he had been tried on past behaviour rather than just the crimes he was charged with.

A new trial has been ordered, but Weinstein will stay behind bars after being convicted of another sexual assault and rape in Los Angeles in 2022. For that conviction, Weinstein was sentenced to 16 years in jail.

Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein was convicted in 2020 ©Getty Images

Weinstein’s trial was one of the most prominent legal battles of the #MeToo movement, a social media campaign that saw a number of women speak out about their experiences of assault and harassment in the film and entertainment industry. The resulting movement, where women in industries across the world spoke out against sexual harassment at the hands of powerful men, was referred to as the 'Weinstein effect'.

Allegations against Weinstein were first made in October 2017, with a report by The New York Times and The New Yorker including dozens of claims dating back to as early as the 1970s. By the end of the month, more than 80 women had come forward with allegations against the producer, claiming that they were bullied, pressured and coerced by Weinstein to perform sexual acts.

Following the initial allegations, Weinstein was dismissed from The Weinstein Company and expelled from the Academy. His wife, Georgina Chapman, announced that she was leaving him that month. In May 2018, Weinstein was arrested in New York and found guilty of rape and sexual assault nearly two years later. He is still in prison in New York.

It is this conviction that has been overturned, following Weinstein’s first hearing in February. As a result, Harvey Weinstein’s accusers could be asked to take to the stands again and provide testimony of their allegations once more.

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