Skip to Content

Harvey Weinstein’s rape conviction overturned in New York


The rape conviction of movie producer Harvey Weinstein has been overturned by New York's highest court.

The New York Court of Appeals, in a 4-3 opinion, overturned Weinstein's conviction on sex crimes against three women, finding the trial judge "erroneously admitted testimony of uncharged, alleged prior sexual acts against persons other than the complainants of the underlying crimes."

The court said that testimony "served no material non-propensity purpose" and "portrayed defendant in a highly prejudicial light."

Weinstein, 72, was a well-known, powerful man within the entertainment industry and prosecutors said he abused his power to take advantage of aspiring female actors, like the alleged victims, to coerce them into unwanted sexual encounters. According to the prosecution, the quid pro quo of assisting them with their careers in exchange for sexual favors on demand was both common behavior and a well-known secret throughout the film industry.

Prosecutors said the testimony of women other than those whose claims formed the basis of the criminal charges spoke to Weinstein's state of mind to use forcible compulsion. The majority opinion, however, said that eviscerated the time-tested rule against propensity evidence, "which, in criminal cases, serves as a judicial bulwark against a guilty verdict based on supposition rather than proof."

Weinstein remains in prison. The Manhattan district attorney's office could decide to retry him.

Weinstein was also convicted of sex offenses in Los Angeles and sentenced to 16 years in prison there.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

ABC News


KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content