Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers have appealed their client’s rape conviction and blamed the “cavalier” judge for the ruling.
More than a year after Harvey Weinstein’s rape conviction, his lawyers have demanded a new trial, arguing in court papers that Weinstein was essentially put on trial for crimes he was not actually charged with, and therefore had no opportunity to defend himself against.
The lawyers claim that Weinstein was denied the right to a fair trial as the judge was “cavalier” with improper rulings.
Weinstein’s lawyers basically called #Rigged as they argued that providing examples of their client being an all-round bad guy in other instances was unfair and irrelevant to this specific case.
“Because the evidence on the charged offences was weak, the prosecution inundated the jury with copious tales of alleged misconduct (much of which was not criminal in nature) that served no legitimate evidentiary purpose but merely depicted Weinstein as loathsome,” Weinstein’s lawyers, Barry Kamins, Diana Fabi-Samoson and John Leventhal wrote in court papers.
— Screen Rant (@screenrant) April 6, 2021
In the 166-page appeal, the lawyers took aim at Manhattan Judge James Burke, who sentenced Weinstein to 23 years in state prison. They challenged the judge’s refusal to remove a novelist who had written a book about ‘predatory men’ from the jury.
“Mr Weinstein had a right to a fair trial by an impartial jury,” “The trial court should have exercised the utmost vigilance in protecting this most important right of the defendant,” they wrote. “Instead, the trial court was cavalier in its obligation to safeguard this right and the consequences for Mr Weinstein were disastrous.”
They said the sentence was “unduly harsh and excessive”, given that Weinstein has a history of charitable causes, a whole bunch of Oscars, and a previously clean criminal record.
— Steven Zoernack (@SteveZoernack) April 5, 2021
Weinstein maintains his position that any sexual activity was consensual. A spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment, saying only:
“We will respond in our brief to the court.