Harvey Weinstein to cite #MeToo ‘noise’ in final NY bid to reverse rape conviction

0
9

Convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein is making a last-ditch bid to reverse his 2020 Manhattan sex crimes conviction — with his lawyer claiming that “noise” from the #MeToo movement thwarted the Hollywood producer’s right to a fair trial.
As Weinstein, 71, serves out his 23-year-sentence at an upstate prison, his lawyer will claim to New York’s highest appeals court Wednesday that jurors unfairly heard an avalanche of damning stories about the infamous convict because of the anti-sex-harassment revolution at the time.
“The trial judge allowed the #MeToo movement to get into the courtroom,” Weinstein’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala, recently claimed to The Post.
A mid-level appellate court in June 2022 rejected many of the same arguments Aidala plans to make in front of a seven-judge panel in Albany on Wednesday afternoon.
But the veteran lawyer — who has a reputation for representing other villainized figures including British socialite and convicted sex trafficker Ghislane Maxwell — plans to claim again that Weinstein’s status as #MeToo’s poster boy tainted Justice James Burke’s rulings.
3 Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer is claiming that a judge let the #MeToo movement play too large a role at his Manhattan trial. Steven Hirsch
The judge “got too caught up in the noise” because of the “international outcry” and Weinstein’s status as “public enemy No.1” in the movement, Aidala said he plans to add during Wednesday’s arguments.
The #MeToo movement was marked by people around the globe going public with their stories of sexual assault, harassment and abuse — often at the hands of powerful men. More than 80 women in total have come forward to describe Weinstein, the former head of Miramax, as a sexual predator.
A Manhattan jury of seven men and five women found Weinstein guilty in February 2020 of criminal sexual act in the first degree for forcibly performing oral sex on former “Project Runway” production assistant Miriam “Mimi” Haleyi and rape in the third degree for an attack on hairstylist Jessica Mann.
Six women in total testified against Weinstein — and gripped each other in the front row of the courtroom’s gallery in March 2020 as Justice Burke handed down the stiff sentence.
3 Lawyer Arthur Aidala has a reputation for representing people facing the public’s ire, including convicted sex trafficker Ghislane Maxwell. Alec Tabak
“The Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra, costume designer and producer Dawn Dunning and actresses Tarale Wulff and Lauren Marie Young all took the stand as well against Weinstein — describing abusive behavior from him that did not lead to criminal charges.
Stil, the verdict was only a partial win for prosecutors, as Weinstein was found not guilty of the top charges involving Mann — including predatory sexual assault, which carried a potential life sentence.
Weinstein’s lawyers have claimed that the trial court’s decision to include extensive testimony about Weinstein’s prior “bad acts” was an “unprecedented” move that interfered with the film producer’s rights.
“They turned a ‘he-said, she said’ case into a ‘he-said, she-said, she-said, she-said … she-said’ case,” Aidala said in an interview.
Weinstein’s lawyers have also claimed in court papers that one juror in the case unfairly failed to disclose “that she was publishing a ‘highly personal’ book about the sexual predations of older men against young women.”
3 Six women testified against Weinstein at a trial where jurors found him guilty of first-degree criminal sex act and third-degree rape. REUTERS
Aidala will have 20 minutes Wednesday to make his pitch at Albany’s New York State Court of Appeals.
Steven Wu, chief of appeals for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, will then argue for 20 minutes on behalf of prosecutors.
Arguments kick off at around 4 p.m and will be broadcast live on YouTube.
If Weinstein’s conviction is reversed, the DA’s office would still have the option of retrying him.
Weinstein was separately sentenced in February 2023 to 16 years in prison in a Los Angeles criminal case after a California jury convicted him of raping a woman 10 years earlier in 2013.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here