Harvey Weinstein appears in court after New York rape conviction overturned

Prosecutors asked for a September retrial for Harvey Weinstein during a hearing at a Manhattan court on Wednesday, the disgraced movie mogul’s first appearance since his 2020 rape conviction was overturned by an appeals court last week.

The film producer, wearing a navy blue suit, was seated in a wheelchair pushed by a court officer as he entered the preliminary hearing in Manhattan.

Weinstein’s defence lawyer Arthur Aidala said his client was attending the hearing despite the 72-year-old having been admitted to hospital shortly after his return to the city jail system on Friday from an upstate prison.

He said Weinstein, who has cardiac issues and diabetes, was undergoing unspecified tests because of his health issues.

Mr Aidala said he has no concern about his client’s mental abilities, describing Weinstein as “sharp as a tack – as sharp as he ever was”.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office has said it is determined to retry the case against Weinstein.

Legal experts say that may be a long road and come down to whether the women he is accused of assaulting are willing to testify again. One of the women, Mimi Haley, said on Friday she was still considering whether she would testify at any retrial.

Prosecutors said one of the accusers, Jessica Mann, who was in court on Wednesday is prepared to testify again and suggested locking in a date in September for the retrial.

Mr Aidala said his client wants to prove his innocence: “It’s a new trial. It’s a new day.”

The once-powerful studio boss was also convicted in Los Angeles in 2022 of another rape and is still sentenced to another 16 years in prison in California.

In the New York case that is now overturned, he was convicted of rape in the third degree for an attack on an aspiring actress in 2013, and of forcing himself on Ms Haley, a former Project Runway production assistant, in 2006. Weinstein had pleaded not guilty and maintained any sexual activity was consensual.

The Associated Press does not generally identify people alleging sexual assault unless they consent to be named, as Ms Haley and Ms Mann have.

On Thursday, the New York Court of Appeals vacated his conviction in a 4-3 decision, erasing his 23-year prison sentence, after concluding a trial judge permitted jurors to see and hear too much evidence not directly related to what he was charged with.

The ruling shocked and disappointed women who celebrated historic gains during the era of #MeToo, a movement that ushered in a wave of sexual misconduct claims in Hollywood and beyond.

Sourse: breakingnews.ie

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