Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein on Monday asked a New York state appeals court to throw out his conviction for sexual assault and rape and grant a new trial, saying the trial judge made several errors that denied him an impartial jury, reported CNN.
“With a juror who had already prejudged the case against Mr. Weinstein and a trial judge intent on denying him a fair opportunity to defend himself, a verdict of guilt was inevitable. A reviewing court now has the opportunity to correct this miscarriage of justice,” a press release announcing the defense appeal says.
Weinstein, 69, was sentenced in March 2020 by Justice James Burke of Manhattan criminal court to 23 years in prison for assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and raping former aspiring actress Jessica Mann. He is convicted for first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape at a maximum security prison outside of Buffalo, according to state records.
Weinstein has denied any nonconsensual sexual encounters.
His conviction was seen as a watershed moment in the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse and harassment.
Weinstein makes seven arguments in his bid to overturn his conviction, from seating a juror that Weinstein’s lawyers accused of being grossly unqualified to an unduly harsh sentence.
Weinstein said the third-degree rape charge should be dismissed because the alleged misconduct occurred too long ago, and a new trial should concern a single count of first-degree criminal sexual act.
Even if his conviction were overturned, Weinstein still faces charges including forcible rape in Los Angeles involving five alleged victims from 2004 to 2013. Weinstein faces up to 140 years in prison if convicted in that case.