Here’s why Harvey Weinstein’s New York rape conviction was tossed and what happens next


NEW YORK (AP) — The decision by New York’s highest court to overturn the rape conviction of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has reopened a painful chapter in America’s reckoning with sexual misconduct by powerful figures — an era that began in 2017 and helped launch the #MeToo movement.

Here’s what you need to know about why Weinstein’s rape conviction was thrown out and what happens next:


New York’s Court of Appeals found the trial judge in the rape case prejudiced Weinstein with “egregious” improper rulings, including a decision to let women testify about allegations that Weinstein wasn’t charged with.

In its 4-3 decision, the court’s majority said it was an “abuse of judicial discretion” for Judge James Burke to allow testimony from these other women about “loathsome alleged bad acts and despicable behavior.”

“Without question, this is appalling, shameful, repulsive conduct that could only diminish defendant’s character before the jury,” they said.

Weinstein’s attorney Arthur Aidala had argued that Burke also swayed the trial by giving prosecutors permission to confront Weinstein, if he chose to testify, about his past history.

He said Weinstein wanted to testify but opted not to because he would have had to answer questions about more than two-dozen alleged acts of misbehavior dating back four decades, including fighting with his movie producer brother, flipping over a table in anger, snapping at waiters and yelling at his assistants.


Weinstein, 72, will remain imprisoned because he was convicted in Los Angeles in 2022 of another rape and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Weinstein has been serving time in New York, most recently at the Mohawk Correctional Facility, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Albany.


The Manhattan district attorney’s office has indicated it plans to retry Weinstein, which means his accusers could be forced to retell their stories on the witness stand.

“We will do everything in our power to retry this case, and remain steadfast in our commitment to survivors of sexual assault,” the prosecutors’ statement said.

Weinstein was convicted in New York on charges of criminal sex acts involving forced oral sex on a TV and film production assistant in 2006 and rape in the third degree for an attack on an aspiring actress in 2013.

Weinstein maintains his innocence and contends any sexual activity was consensual.

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