A New York appeals court upholds the conviction of sexual predator Harvey Weinstein | Society | The USA Print


Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Manhattan courthouse in February 2020.
Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Manhattan courthouse in February 2020.John Minchillo (AP)

One day after a ruling in favor of actor Johnny Depp judicially clouded the credibility of the allegations of abuse and mistreatment of his ex-wife, Amber Heard, a ruling against the once all-powerful producer Harvey Weinstein seems to breathe a final breath to the MeToo movement, which cracked the silence of women in the face of sexual predators. Weinstein has seen an appeal dismissed to annul his 23-year prison sentence for rape and other sexual crimes, a ruling then exemplary to which many turn the day after the setback to Heard. The court of appeals of the Supreme Court of New York, made up of five judges, has decided unanimously to confirm both the sentence and the sentence, handed down after a media process in 2020, at the height of a movement that would soon become a phenomenon global.

The one who was a true Hollywood factotum until his fall from grace was found guilty of rape in the first degree and abuse in the third degree of, respectively, a production assistant and an aspiring actress, both not too well known to the general public, to unlike the multiple female voices that rose up to denounce their crimes. Famous actresses like Mira Sorvino, winner of an Oscar; Ashley Judd, Cara Delevingne or Patricia Arquette, among others, once described Weinstein as a sexual predator who used his power to take sexual advantage of women.

Weinstein appealed the sentence a year ago, considering that he had been deprived of a fair trial because the prosecution allowed several abuse complainants to testify whose accusations were not specifically judged in the process. The five judges of the court of appeals have rejected the defendant’s arguments to “reaffirm the sentence in its entirety.” The ruling also establishes that there are no reasons to reduce the sentence and considers Weinstein’s allegations invalid. Cyrus Vance, former Manhattan district attorney responsible for the case at the time, said today that the decision is a relief, although he never had any doubts about the consistency of the evidence and testimony. The first information about Weinstein’s excesses appeared in the newspaper New York Times in the fall of 2017. Less than a year later, Vance’s team made the first allegations.

Weinstein has not been out on the street since he was convicted, and since last summer he has been in a Los Angeles prison, awaiting another trial for sexual abuse in which he is charged with 11 crimes. The hearing date is expected to be set this month. The once powerful producer, who pleaded not guilty to all charges, was transferred from a New York jail to Los Angeles on a medical plane.

Visibly emaciated, using a walker, his last public image dates back to early 2020, when he appeared in court in Manhattan for the trial. His defense considers “all options”, including the possibility of appealing to a higher court, the New York State Court of Appeals, although it is not an automatic process. The prisoner aspires to have the same fate as actor Bill Cosby, who was exonerated from a conviction for sexual abuse issued in 2018. In 2021 he was released.

The confirmation of Weinstein’s conviction is a certain relief for MeToo activists, who have reacted with visible concern to the exculpatory sentence of Johnny Depp, especially due to the immediate political instrumentalization of the ruling by the Republican Party. Memes that show a defiant Depp as the pirate Jack Sparrow -protagonist of the successful series Pirates of the Caribbean and one of the collateral victims of the process – have been published in the last few hours on social networks, including by instances serious as the judiciary committee of the conservative party in Congress.

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