Harvey Weinstein appealed on Monday the rape and felony sex crime conviction at his New York criminal trial, arguing that a specific juror who had written a novel about “predatory older men,” and the admission of prior bad acts witnesses, affected his ability to have a fair trial.
Weinstein was convicted last year of a first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape after a months-long trial that heard the testimonies of six women who accused the former Hollywood mogul of sexual assault. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
But in Monday’s 166-page appeal, Weinstein’s defense took issue with a juror who they claimed was dishonest during jury selection about the themes of her novel.
“Juror No. 11 was unqualified to sit as a juror at Mr. Weinstein’s trial from the start and should have been excused for cause upon defense counsel’s discovery that she had misrepresented the subject matter of the book she had authored and was publishing at the time she was serving as a juror,” the appeal said.
Weinstein’s team also argued that the jury was unfairly influenced by the testimonies of three prior bad acts witnesses — Tarale Wulff, Dawn Dunning and Lauren Young — whose accounts did not form the basis of the charges.
“Weinstein’s trial was overwhelmed by excessive, random, and highly dubious prior bad act evidence, none of which shed light on disputed issues relevant to the charged offenses,” the appeal said. “Because the evidence on the charged offenses was weak, the prosecution inundated the jury with copious tales of alleged misconduct (much of which was not criminal in nature) that served no legitimate evidentiary purpose but merely depicted Weinstein as loathsome.”
A spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office told TheWrap, “We will respond in our brief to the court.”
The appeal also questioned the third-degree rape charge against Weinstein, given that the charge was filed 70 days after the statute of limitations.
Weinstein is seeking his conviction to be overturned, the third-degree rape charge dismissed as “time-barred” and a new trial focused only on the charge of a first-degree criminal sexual act based on an incident in 2006, when Miriam Haley, a former production assistant on the Weinstein-produced TV show “Project Runway,” said that Weinstein held her down on a bed by her wrists, pulled out her tampon and sexually assaulted her in his SoHo apartment.
Weinstein still faces a separate case in Los Angeles, where he is charged with 11 felony counts: four counts of forcible rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery by restraint and one count of sexual penetration by use of force. If convicted, he faces up to 140 years to life in prison in California. His extradition to Los Angeles has continued to be delayed due to the pandemic, and it’s not immediately clear when proceedings may begin.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.