Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction was under intense scrutiny today before an all-female bench of appeals court judges in New York.
With terms including “overkill” and “that argument rubs me the wrong way” thrown at the office of outgoing Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance II, the five justices of the Appellate Division First Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the Empire State strongly indicated that they could be considering tossing out the Pulp Fiction EP’s 23-year sentence for two felony sex crimes charges.
“Let’s put in as much as we can to show this guy is a terrible guy,” Justice Sallie Manzanet-Daniels said to Assistant D.A. Valerie Figueredo at today’s hearing of the case constructed almost two years ago against Weinstein. “He doesn’t get convicted for being a bad guy,” another justice added about the trial that saw other accusers of the producer take the stand and a slew of decades of very bad behavior on Weinstein’s part put in the spotlight. “He gets convicted for these particular crimes.”
“This was a trial of Harvey Weinstein’s character,” criminal defense lawyer Barry Kamins argued to the face-masked judges Wednesday. “We are hopeful that after hearing the right and legal arguments that clouded Mr. Weinstein’s New York trial, the appellate court will do what is legally just and support due process,” Weinstein’s camp said in a statement released after the hearing.
Still battling a litany of health issues that have seen him in and out of hospitals and other medical facilities, the now-69-year-old Weinstein was sentenced to more than two decades in prison on March 11, 2020, by New York Supreme Court Judge James Burke. After some tugging back and forth, Weinstein was finally extradited to L.A. last summer for the West Coast case.
A ruling on the appeal heard today in New York is not expected until April. That would be around the one year anniversary of when Weinstein first filed his response to his New York sentence and trial.
The last in a number of speedy cases this afternoon in front of Justices Manzanet-Daniels, Judith Gische, Ellen Gesmer, Cynthia Kern and Angela M. Mazzarelli, Weinstein’s appeal comes as the convicted sex offender sits in a Los Angeles jail awaiting the start of his trial on the West Coast on more rape charges.
Looking at 140 years behind bars if found guilty in the City of Angels, Weinstein is facing grand jury indictments of four counts of rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, one count of sexual penetration by use of force, plus one count of sexual battery by restraint and sexual battery in incidents involving five women in L.A. County over a nine-year period.
In potential contrast to the way things went on the East Coast today, another attempt by Weinstein’s L.A. legal team to scuttle the West Coast case last week failed to pass muster with a California judge.