Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction overturned in New York

Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction in New York has been overturned, on the basis that he did not receive a fair trial.

The New York Court of Appeals said prosecutors in the pivotal #MeToo case called witnesses whose accusations were not part of the charges against him.

The court said that meant he was unfairly tried for past behaviour, and ordered a new trial.

Weinstein, 72, remains in prison. He was separately convicted of rape in LA.

The Silence Breakers, a victims’ group, called the reversal “disheartening and profoundly unjust”, while lawyers for victims said the decision to retry was a “leap backwards” and “tragic”.

Weinstein’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala, hailed the reversal as a win for the legal system.

“There are still people who are very unpopular in our society, but we still have to apply the law fairly to them,” Mr Aidala said at a news conference in New York City.

“In this courthouse behind us, at that trial, the law was not applied fairly to Harvey Weinstein.”

In an interview with the New York Times, he said the decision was a victory “for every criminal defendant in the state of New York”.

The court reached a 4-3 ruling on Thursday, stating that the trial “erroneously admitted testimony of uncharged, alleged prior sexual acts against persons other than the complainants of the underlying crimes.”

The decision also said the trial judge compounded the error by letting Weinstein be cross-examined in a way that portrayed him in a “highly prejudicial” light.

“The remedy for these egregious errors is a new trial,” the court found.

Judge Madeline Singas, one of the dissenters, however said that with the decision, “this Court continues to thwart the steady gains survivors of sexual violence have fought for in our criminal justice system”.

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