Harvey Weinstein’s Sexual Assault Conviction Upheld by New York Appeals Court

His lawyer had argued Weinstein was blocked from testifying in his own defense by “prior bad acts” testimony

Harvey Weinstein at Manhattan trial
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

A New York Appeals Court has upheld the 2020 sexual assault conviction of Harvey Weinstein, who is serving a 23-year sentence and is currently in a Los Angeles prison awaiting trial on 11 more sex crimes, according to a Thursday court filing.

Weinstein’s appeal argued it was improper for prosecutors to introduce “Molineux evidence,” or evidence of prior bad acts that were never charged as crimes. His attorney argues that the parade of prior incidents not directly related to the charges undermined Weinstein’s ability to testify on his own behalf, which he has so far chosen not to do.

The Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, First Judicial Department, wrote in its appeal rejection that the state’s was justified in presenting “uncharged acts” evidence to show “defendant’s goal at all times was to position the women in such a way that he could have sex with them, and that whether the women consented or not was irrelevant to him.”

The court added that including testimony from outside the cases’ named accusers establishes Weinstein’s “practice of baiting women with opportunities for career advancement, and then taking advantage, all the while being completely uninterested in whether the women welcomed his advances, and being determined to go forward whether or not they did.”

Weinstein’s upcoming trial in Los Angeles will feature Molineux testimony after a judge ruled to allow five witnesses – though Rose McGowan, the first to publicly accuse Weinstein, and Daryl Hannah were among the 10 who were not approved to testify. Weinstein’s lawyer successfully argued that Hannah’s prior statements were “inflammatory”; McGowan’s testimony was rejected because the alleged assault happened before 2000.

In summer 2021, the mogul — who has already been convicted of rape in New York and was sentenced to 23 years in state prison — was extradited to California where he will face up to 140 years based on sexual misconduct charges involving five women between 2004 and 2013. He has pleaded not guilty.

The Los Angeles trial is on track to start in September.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.