New York's highest court allows Harvey Weinstein to appeal rape conviction
New York state's highest court has agreed to allow former movie producer Harvey Weinstein to appeal his rape and sexual assault conviction, offering Weinstein a distant chance of being granted a new trial.
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore "granted leave to appeal" on Aug. 19, the court wrote in a letter dated Monday that was sent to Weinstein's lawyers, and reviewed by Reuters on Wednesday.
The letter did not detail what grounds may have led to the decision and it has no bearing on further rape charges against him in California.
Upon weighing arguments from Weinstein's lawyers and prosecutors, the court can uphold the conviction or order a new trial. Last June, a lower appeals court upheld the conviction, rejecting arguments that the Manhattan trial judge made several errors that tainted the trial.
The bar for ordering a new trial is high, but Weinstein was "relieved at this decision," said one of his lawyers, Arthur Aidala, after speaking with his client in prison.
"He's hopeful that the court is going to find that he did not receive a fair trial and reverse his conviction. And, as he has consistently, he maintained his innocence," Aidala said.
Weinstein, 70, a Hollywood power broker who produced "Pulp Fiction," "Shakespeare in Love" and "Gangs of New York," became one of the most prominent targets of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements that alleged sexual abuse at the highest levels of corporate America, entertainment and the media.