A New York appeals court upheld the 23-year prison sentence against Harvey Weinstein Thursday, ensuring that the disgraced producer will remain behind bars ahead of his upcoming Los Angeles trial on sexual assault charges.
In March 2020, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison after being found guilty on charges of felony sex crime and third-degree rape in his New York trial on sexual assault charges; his legal team filed an appeal a month later. On Thursday, the five-judge panel ruled unanimously to affirm the verdict and sentencing in that trial.
“We reject defendant’s arguments, and affirm the conviction in all respects,” the judges wrote in a 45-page decision obtained by Rolling Stone. “We perceive no basis for reducing the sentence, and we have considered defendant’s remaining arguments and find them unavailing.”
Weinstein’s appeal centered around complaints regarding character witness testimony and the statute of limitations on the charges, as well as what they considered biased jurors.
“The uncharged incidents in which [victim Jessica Mann] testified that defendant sexually assaulted her before and then again after the charged incident were also ‘admissible to provide context for the abusive relationship[s] between defendant and [her], to make it comprehensible and to enhance its credibility,'” the judges stated, alluding to a similar case. “The testimony demonstrated how defendant lured her with the prospect of career opportunities before subjecting her to nonconsensual sex acts, yet continued to remain on good terms with her by abusing her trust and his power in the movie industry.”
Weinstein will next face trial in Los Angeles, where he has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of sex assault involving five unidentified women. Prosecutors allege the producer raped three women — one of them on two separate occasions a year apart — and sexually assaulted two other victims during attacks at hotels in and around Beverly Hills between 2004 and 2013.
While no trial date has been set yet for that case, the next hearing has been scheduled for June 10.