Harvey Weinstein catches a lucky break: his 2020 rape conviction was overturned

Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein just caught a lucky break — the New York Court of Appeals overturned his 2020 rape conviction today with a 4-3 vote.

"We conclude that the trial court erroneously admitted testimony of uncharged, alleged prior sexual acts against persons other than the complainants of the underlying crimes because that testimony served no material non-propensity purpose," the court said.

"The court compounded that error when it ruled that defendant, who had no criminal history, could be cross examined about those allegations as well as numerous allegations of misconduct that portrayed defendant in a highly prejudicial light. The synergistic effect of these errors was not harmless."

The 72-year-old producer was sentenced to 23 years in prison in 2020, and his grotesque behavior ignited the #MeToo movement. Although this conviction was overturned, the fallen man will remain behind bars at Mohawk Correctional Facility in Rome, New York, thanks to his other (Los Angeles) rape conviction in 2022 for which he received 16 years.

Meanwhile, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office pledges to "do everything in our power to retry this case, and remain steadfast in our commitment to survivors of sexual assault."

From NBC News:

Judge Madeline Singas, in a dissenting opinion, accused the majority of "whitewashing the facts to conform to a he-said/she-said narrative" and failing to recognize that the jury was allowed to consider Weinstein's past assaults.

"This Court has continued a disturbing trend of overturning juries' guilty verdicts in cases involving sexual violence," Singas wrote.

In a separate dissenting opinion, Judge Anthony Cannataro said the decision was an "unfortunate step backwards."

And from AP News:

The reversal of Weinstein's conviction is the second major #MeToo setback in the last two years, after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a Pennsylvania court decision to throw out Bill Cosby's sexual assault conviction.

Weinstein's conviction stood for more than four years, heralded by activists and advocates as a milestone achievement, but dissected just as quickly by his lawyers and, later, the Court of Appeals when it heard arguments on the matter in February.

Allegations against Weinstein, the once powerful and feared studio boss behind such Oscar winners as "Pulp Fiction" and "Shakespeare in Love," ushered in the #MeToo movementDozens of women came forward to accuse Weinstein, including famous actresses such as Ashley Judd and Uma Thurman. …

In appealing, Weinstein's lawyers sought a new trial, but only for the criminal sexual act charge. They argued the rape charge could not be retried because it involves alleged conduct outside the statute of limitations.