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Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 Rape Conviction Overturned: What to Know

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Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction was overturned four years after he was found guilty of criminal sexual assault and rape.

Weinstein, 72, was first accused of decades of sexual assault and harassment by multiple women in 2017. The disgruntled movie producer vehemently denied all allegations before checking himself into a treatment facility. One year later, Weinstein turned himself into authorities on charges involving actress Lucia Evans and a second unidentified woman. During his February 2020 trial, Weinstein pleaded not guilty to the rape charges. A jury, however, found him guilty and Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

Weinstein later stood trial in December 2022 on additional sexual assault charges in Los Angeles, again pleading not guilty. He was found guilty on three charges of rape and assault with a judge sentencing him in February 2023 to 16 additional years in prison.

As Weinstein reported to prison, his legal team filed an appeal to the 2020 court verdict. The New York Court of Appeals overturned the ruling 4-3 on Thursday, April 25, claiming that the previous judicial figures had been prejudiced.

Jeremy Piven, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Sexual Misconduct, Hollywood, Sexual Harassment

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“Today’s decision is a major step back in holding those accountable for acts of sexual violence,” attorney Douglas H. Wigdor, who represented eight of Weinstein’s victims, told Us Weekly in a statement. “Courts routinely admit evidence of other uncharged acts where they assist juries in understanding issues concerning the intent, modus operandi or scheme of the defendant. The jury was instructed on the relevance of this testimony and overturning the verdict is tragic in that it will require the victims to endure yet another trial.”

Keep scrolling for everything to know about Weinstein’s lawsuit verdict being overturned and its implications:

Harvey Weinstein's 2020 Assault Verdict Overturned in New York Appeals Court: Everything to Know
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Why Did Harvey Weinstein Stand Trial in 2020?

The 2020 lawsuit was the first sexual assault trial against Weinstein. He was accused of rape but denied the accusations.

What Was the Verdict of Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 Trial?

Weinstein was found guilty of one count of criminal sexual assault in the first degree and one count of rape in the third degree, and sentenced to 23 years in prison. Despite the sentencing, his legal team filed an appeal with the New York Court of Appeals.

Harvey Weinstein's 2020 Assault Verdict Overturned in New York Appeals Court: Everything to Know
Scott Heins/Getty Images

What Does It Mean That the Verdict Was Overturned?

To put it simply, a verdict being overturned is defined as a court disagreeing with the decision made in a lower court. In Weinstein’s case, the first verdict was rendered in New York’s trial court. The appeal took place in a higher court.

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Why Did the Court of Appeals Vote to Overturn Harvey Weinstein’s Conviction?

The appeals judges found that the initial judge had “egregious” and improper rulings, including allowing testimony that wasn’t mentioned in the lawsuit. Judge Madeline Singas also explained that the majority was “whitewashing the facts to conform to a he-said/she-said narrative” and the appeal continued a “disturbing trend of overturning juries’ guilty verdicts in cases involving sexual violence.”

Harvey Weinstein's 2020 Assault Verdict Overturned in New York Appeals Court: Everything to Know
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

What Does the Legal Appeal Mean for Harvey Weinstein’s Prison Sentence?

Though his 23-year jail sentence was overturned, Weinstein will remain incarcerated since he was convicted by a California court on additional charges in 2022. He could potentially move to a California facility pending a possible retrial.

He was transferred from Mohawk Correctional Facility in upstate New York to Manhattan’s Rikers Island on April 27, ahead of his May 1 appearance in Manhattan Criminal Court. Weinstein remained in custody when he left the prison two days after his conviction was overturned because he needed to be hospitalized, his lawyer Arthur Aidala explained. His diagnosis was not revealed.

“They examined him and sent him to Bellevue,” Aidala shared with the Associated Press on April 27, noting he needed many tests. “It seems like he needs a lot of help, physically. He’s got a lot of problems. He’s getting all kinds of tests. He’s somewhat of a train wreck health-wise.”

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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