NEW YORK (AP) – More than a year after Harvey Weinstein’s rape conviction, his lawyers are demanding a retrial, arguing in court documents Monday that the landmark #MeToo prosecution that put him behind bars was fueled by improper rulings. of a judge who was “Arrogant” in protecting the disgraced movie mogul’s right to a fair trial.
In a 166-page brief filed with a state appeals court, Weinstein’s attorneys repeatedly targeted Manhattan Judge James Burke, arguing that he influenced the outcome of the trial with repeated rulings favorable to prosecutors, including a decision allowing more Prosecutors testify on allegations that never led to criminal charges.
Weinstein’s attorneys also challenged Burke’s refusal to remove a juror who had written a novel involving predatory older men, as well as his decision to allow prosecutors to have an expert on victim behavior and myths. of rape while rejecting the testimony of defense experts on similar issues.
“Messrs. Weinstein had the right to a fair trial by an impartial jury,” attorneys Barry Kamins, John Leventhal and Diana Fabi-Samson wrote in the brief.
“The trial court should have exercised the utmost vigilance to protect this most important right of the accused,” they wrote. “Instead, the trial court was more arrogant in its obligation to safeguard this right and the consequences for Mr. Weinstein were disastrous.”
Weinstein, 69, was convicted in February 2020 of a criminal sexual act of forcibly performing oral sex with a film and television production assistant in 2006 and third-degree rape for an attack on an aspiring actress in 2013. .
He was acquitted of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault stemming from the accusations of actress Annabella Sciorra of a rape in the mid-1990s, testimony his attorneys said Monday was so outdated it should never have been allowed.
Burke sentenced Weinstein to 23 years in state prison, which his lawyers argued Monday was “unduly harsh and excessive.” Given his previously clean criminal record, his renowned career as an Oscar-winning film producer, and his history of charitable donations, Weinstein’s attorneys argued that he deserved a significantly lighter sentence.
Weinstein is also charged in California with assaulting five women in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills between 2004 and 2013. His extradition has been delayed due to the pandemic. Weinstein tested positive for the coronavirus shortly after arriving at Wende’s maximum-security correctional facility near Buffalo last spring.
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