The New York appeals court has affirmed on Thursday that conviction for Harvey Weinstein for sexual assault and rape in a decision that denied his request to overturn the ruling in light of arguments that suggested the trial was unfairly stacked against the defendant.
In a unanimous ruling the appeals court of the New York Supreme Court backed the rulings of the trial judge that Weinstein said were procedurally incorrect and unjust.
“We reject defendant’s arguments, and affirm the conviction in all respects,” is the text of the order of 45 pages.
Weinstein was found guilty in February 2020 of the basis of two charges for committing an act of sexual assault that was first-degree as well as third-degree sexual rape. Weinstein was sentenced for 23 years the New York state prison.
The Weinstein’s lawyers appealed the decision and claimed they believed that Supreme Court Justice James Burke who was the judge and the jury, committed a number of procedural errors and also issued rulings that unfairly favoring the prosecution. They cited Burke refusing to exonerate an accused biased juror, and allowing evidence for uncharged infractions.
One of Weinstein’s main argument on appeal was the fact that he had been stripped of his constitutional right to defend himself since prosecutors were able to question him in cross-examination on 28 instances that spanned over 30 years in the hopes of destroying his credibility. The incidents were allegedly having committed a range of criminal acts that included encouraging executives to commit fraud on his behalf , to threats and violence against employees working for him as well as other things.
The appeals court, however determined that the judge had power to make these decisions.
“While we acknowledge the sheer size of the impeachment material that the court allowed, we have analyzed that decision within the larger context of all of the circumstances presented by this case, and have concluded that the court providently exercised its discretion,” the order says.
The justices concluded that the information that was allowed in the trial by Burke is “unquestionably relevant.” They concurred with the prosecution that allegations of Weinstein telling lies to get his attention prove his credibility, and that allegations of a shady behavior in business environments “reflected a willingness to place [his] self-interest above the interests of another person.”
Juda Engelmayer, a spokesperson for Weinstein said “We are disappointed, but not surprised.”
“We are reviewing all of our options and will seek to petition the court appeals and beyond,” Engelmayer said.