Harvey Weinstein lost an appeal to overturn charges of rape and sexual assault on Thursday, Variety reports. Weinstein’s team had argued that the judge made multiple errors in the case, including allowing prosecutors to call three “prior bad acts” witnesses to testify about uncharged conduct and to bring up prior incidents of bullying and physical violence to impeach his testimony.
Per Variety, the five-justice appellate panel unanimously upheld the judge’s conviction (and the 23-year sentence). “While we acknowledge the sheer size of the impeachment material that the court allowed, we have analyzed that decision within the larger context of all of the circumstances presented by this case, and have concluded that the court providently exercised its discretion,” wrote Justice Angela Mazzarelli, on behalf of the court.
The panel also rejected the point of appeal that “the jury could not have found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based on the available evidence,” citing the defense’s argument that accusers Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann maintained friendly relations with Weinstein after their respective non-consensual encounters with the producer. “The jury could have chosen to believe that defendant acted without their consent notwithstanding the complainants’ behavior before and after the events in question,” Mazzarelli wrote.
Famed attorney Gloria Allred, who represented Haley and two other witnesses who appeared at the trial, said she was “thrilled” by the ruling, per Variety. “Mimi made many sacrifices for the cause of justice and endured a vigorous cross examination. I am very proud of her and my two other clients who testified in this case, and the entire prosecution team in this case,” Allred said.
Weinstein spokesperson Juda Engelmayer released a statement saying, “We are disappointed, but not surprised. We are reviewing all of our options and will seek to petition the Court of Appeals and beyond.” Weinstein is still awaiting trial on 11 additional charges of sexual assault.