Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has asked a New York state appeals court to overturn his sexual assault conviction, saying he did not get a fair trial in a tense case that has become emblematic of the #MeToo movement.

Fair trial or vendetta?

Weinstein, who is serving a 23-year sentence, says he was convicted this second time for disturbing public order, not for the specific crimes he was accused of. Certainly, most of the charges allegedly describe inappropriate but not criminal conduct, said attorney Barry Kamins in a filing, according to a copy provided Monday by his law firm. A man who was once a Hollywood giant is now hated and treated like a pariah.

Harvey WeinsteinPhotographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

Weinstein’s conviction a year in the past followed articles in The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017 that numerous ladies accused the incredible producer of abusing them, issuing comparative claims to entertainment, media and other company executives. Nonetheless, Weinstein’s lawyers argue that the judge made several mistakes in allowing testimony from three ladies who did not appear for the prosecution, in preventing testimony from experts who could have made the case sensitive, and in allowing charges that were documented to the point of non-appearance – all of which they portray as the consequences of a vendetta by defense reporters and a zealous prosecutor.

Douglas Wigdor, addressing Weinstein’s seven accusers, including the one who was confirmed at trial, said in his statement that the appeal is an urgent attempt to establish a fair trial and that we are confident that the appeal will not correct his conviction and sentence. Danny Frost, spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr, said in an email: We will respond in our brief to the court. The appeal is unlikely to succeed, said Michael Weinstein, a former prosecutor not involved in the case. At this stage of post-conviction, the standards required to overturn a conviction on appeal in its entirety are overwhelming and contradictory, he said.

Jury Book

Weinstein’s lawyers further guarantee their client’s right to a fair trial, which was sabotaged by an out-of-control courthouse surrounded by protesters and a juror who they say was biased and lied about the idea of a book she wrote herself. They forgot to exclude him from the jury because his book is about reckless, more experienced men having sex with young women. The designer was unqualified from the outset to serve as a juror in Mr. Weinstein’s trial and should have been fired for good cause, the suit says.

In February 2020, Weinstein was convicted of premeditated sexual assault for forcing Project Runway assistant Miriam Haley to perform oral sex in a Soho loft in 2006 and third-degree rape for assaulting actress Jessica Mann at the Manhattan Hotel in downtown Manhattan in 2013. He’s serving his sentence in a prison in upstate New York. He was freed from two different talismans: predatory sexual coercion, which reflects the most extreme notion of living in an enclosed state, and rape of the first degree, which requires proof of coercion. Rape in the third degree involves the victim not giving consent. He has so far been criminally charged in Los Angeles.

Harvey Weinstein. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

Will the appeal be dismissed?

In a more than 160-page letter, Weinstein argues that the 2006 and 2013 events at the center of the New York trial undeniably involved voluntary sex. Their statements, even taking into account the general conception of human nature, indicate that in all the circumstances described by the two ladies, Weinstein did not understand that they were not interested in a sexual relationship with him in the particularly important cases charged in the indictment, as the record shows. They cannot explain why they abandoned him, kept seeing him, had sex with him, sent him emails, introduced him to their families and peers, and harassed him.

According to Weinstein, the court qualitatively assessed the plausibility claims by allowing the therapist to assert that it was important that victims be treated in this manner, while unfairly preventing his own expert from testing this assumption. He also argues that the 23-year sentence was too harsh because he was convicted of being a media criminal and not for the crimes for which he was convicted. People v. Weinstein, 450293/2018, Supreme Court of the State of New York (Manhattan).

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