Could Harvey Weinstein Possibly Go Free?
An appeals court began hearing arguments regarding Weinstein's New York sex crimes conviction on Wednesday
Harvey Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for rape and sexual assault, and he’s facing additional charges in Los Angeles that carry a maximum 140-year sentence. But as a new Variety report points out, the disgraced former producer could potentially go free in a few months if a New York appeals court overturns his conviction.
On Wednesday, five justices heard arguments in the appeals case, and according to Variety, “three of them expressed serious concern about the testimony admitted at trial. One justice, Sallie Manzanet-Daniels, referred to the use of uncharged allegations as ‘overkill’ and ‘piling on.’” There’s still a long way to go with the case, but that doesn’t exactly bode well for people who want to see Weinstein stay locked up for the remainder of his life.
Weinstein’s defense attorneys declined to predict whether or not his conviction will be overturned, but it sounds as though they’re feeling pretty optimistic.
“I think it couldn’t have gone better,” Donna Rotunno, the lead defense lawyer at Weinstein’s trial, told the publication, adding that the line of questioning on Wednesday felt like “a wish list of how you want something like that to go.”
“We are very happy,” her co-counsel Damon Cheronis added. “We are very hopeful, based on the appellate court’s questioning, that they see this case for what it is, that evidence that should have never been brought before this jury infected the trial and made it impossible for Mr. Weinstein to get a fair trial.”
Of course, it’s too early to know how exactly this will all play out. As Variety notes, “It is possible that the justices could fault [trial judge Justice James] Burke’s rulings, but uphold the verdict on the grounds that the jury had overwhelming evidence without the extra testimony. It’s also possible that the justices could split, and those who raised the gravest concerns could end up in the minority.”
And even if his New York conviction is overturned, Weinstein isn’t out of the woods yet; he’s still awaiting trial on 11 rape and sexual assault charges in Los Angeles. That trial is not expected to begin until the summer.
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