LA Prosecutors: Weinstein Won't Get Same Break Here

In New York, meanwhile, former movie mogul may face a new trial
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2024 11:44 AM CDT
Updated Apr 26, 2024 11:58 AM CDT
Prosecutors Tease New Trial for Weinstein
Arthur Aidala, center, an attorney for Harvey Weinstein, speaks during a press conference outside Manhattan Criminal Court, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in New York.   (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Reactions are pouring in after the New York Court of Appeals overturned former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's 2020 convictions for first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape on Thursday, finding the inclusion of testimony from accusers about uncharged conduct violated his right to a fair trial. Among those speaking out: Weinstein lawyers who see new hope for his appeal in California, and New York prosecutors who hope to retry him.

  • 'Victory' for the 'unpopular': Weinstein lawyer Arthur Aidala called it a "victory for every criminal defendant in the state of New York" and one that shows the law must be fairly applied even to "people who are very unpopular in our society," per the BBC. Lawyers add it could improve Weinstein's chances of success in appealing his 16-year sentence for rape in California, per the Guardian. More on that below.

  • 'Institutional betrayal': Weinstein rape accuser Jennifer Siebel Newsom says it was "a very sad day for countless women who suffered at the hands of a serial predator." Actor and activist Ashley Judd, who accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, says the decision "is an act of institutional betrayal" against sexual abuse survivors, per CNN.
  • No regrets: A "stunned" Dawn Dunning, one of the witnesses to uncharged acts in the New York trial, tells CNN she doesn't regret taking the stand after preparing for two years. "I know that other women found strength and courage because I and other Weinstein survivors confronted him publicly," she says.
  • Potential reforms: Rowena Chiu, Weinstein's former personal assistant who says he sexually assaulted her in 1998, says the decision could drive a push for legal reform, potentially changing how secondary witnesses are permitted to testify in the future, per the BBC. "Evidence of prior bad acts in order to prove a pattern of behavior ... should absolutely be allowed in sexual assault cases," says actor and activist Jessica Barth, per CNN.

  • New trial: "We will do everything in our power to retry this case, and remain steadfast in our commitment to survivors of sexual assault," a rep for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said Thursday, per the Wall Street Journal, which interprets that to mean "they want a retrial but aren't making promises."
  • A willing witness: Accuser Miriam Haley, whose allegations formed the first-degree criminal sexual act charge, would consider taking the stand again, her lawyer tells CNN.
  • He won't go free: Weinstein will remain in prison in New York while awaiting next moves or a potential new trial, per the Guardian. If he is released in New York, his 16-year sentence for rape in California remains valid—for now.
  • California appeal: Weinstein is also appealing that case with a briefing scheduled for next month. The case "should be reversed for the same reasons the New York case was reversed," lawyer Mark Werksman tells the Los Angeles Times, noting "the judge let the jury hear about four uncharged allegations of sexual assault." Attorney Jennifer Bonjean adds that the jury's hearing of Weinstein's New York conviction "interfered with his presumption of innocence in a significant way," per the Guardian.
  • Different laws: However, "unlike New York, California law permits 'propensity evidence in sexual assault cases subject to the judge's discretion,'" reports the Guardian. The Los Angeles district attorney's office says it's confident the conviction will stand.
(More Harvey Weinstein stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.