‘Profoundly unjust’: Reactions to court overturning Weinstein’s conviction

Women react with dismay to New York court’s decision to overturn the rape conviction of former movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

The Silence Breakers, a group of women who spoke out about Harvey Weinstein. They are pictured outside a court in Los Angelese in 2020. They are standing in a line with their backs to the camera, facing a group of journalists.
The Silence Breakers said they would continue to fight for justice and the world had changed since the allegations against Weinstein emerged [File: Chris Pizzello/Ap Photo]

A New York appeals court has overturned Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 conviction for rape, saying the trial judge should not have allowed other women to testify about alleged assaults that the movie mogul had not been charged with in that particular case.

More than 100 women, including some of the world’s most prominent actresses, have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct since 2017.

After his 2020 criminal trial in New York, a civil trial awarded $17m to dozens of other women who had accused Weinstein of abuse. In 2022, he was also convicted of rape in California and jailed for 16 years.

Here are some of the reactions to Thursday’s decision:

Arthur Aidala, Weinstein’s defence lawyer

“Today’s ruling is not merely a victory for Harvey Weinstein, but it’s a victory for every citizen in this country who’s charged with a crime, and no matter how popular or unpopular they are, the court has declared loudly that they are entitled to all of the protections in our United States Constitution and our New York state constitution.”

Rosanna Arquette, actress and Weinstein accuser

“Harvey was rightfully convicted. It’s unfortunate that the court has overturned his conviction. As a survivor, I am beyond disappointed.”

Jennifer Bonjean, lawyer for Weinstein who is appealing his Los Angeles rape conviction

“A jury was told in California that he was convicted in another state for rape … Turns out he shouldn’t have been convicted, and it wasn’t a fair conviction. … It interfered with his presumption of innocence in a significant way in California.”

Tarana Burke, founder of wider #MeToo movement

“Because the brave women in this case broke their silence, millions and millions and millions of others found the strength to come forward and do the same. That will always be the victory. This doesn’t change that. And the people who abuse their power and privilege to violate and harm others will always be the villain. This doesn’t change that.”

Elizabeth Fegan, lawyer for Weinstein accusers

“I am eternally grateful to the LA District Attorney and the women who put themselves through enormous emotional pain reliving the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of Weinstein in a second trial.

“Some thought the LA case to be superfluous in light of the NY verdict, but now we realize how important it was.”

Lindsay Goldbrum, lawyer for Weinstein accusers

“Today’s ruling unfortunately casts a dark shadow on their bravery and will undoubtedly deter future sexual assault victims from coming forward.

“To all victims of sexual assault who are retraumatized by today’s ruling, I am so sorry.”

Jeff Herman, lawyer for some of Weinstein’s accusers who brought civil cases

“The overturned conviction highlights the importance of civil cases which is sometimes the only remedy available to expose predators and the institutions that enable them.

“Because of laws like the New York Child Victims Act, predators continue to be exposed even without a criminal conviction.”

Anita Hill, chair and president of The Hollywood Commission

“Today’s decision reinforces what we already know through our survey of over 13,000 entertainment workers. We have seen a lack of progress in addressing the power imbalances that allow abuse to occur and that sexual assault continues to be a pervasive problem.”

Ashley Judd, actress and one of Weinstein’s accusers

“This today is an act of institutional betrayal.”

Rose McGowan, actress and Weinstein accuser

“They will never overturn who we are. Blessings to all who gave their all.”

Harvey Weinstein's lawyer Arthur Aidala speaking to the media after the New York court ruling, He is wearing a blue suit and is bald. He is standing in front of a bank of microphones. Others are standing beside him. Some of the journalists are squatting down in front.
Weinstein’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala, welcomed the appeal court’s decision [Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, one of Weinstein’s accusers in the Los Angeles case and wife of California governor

“This is a very sad day for countless women who suffered at the hands of a serial predator. Two juries have said unequivocally: Harvey Weinstein must never be able to rape another woman, and he deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars. Harvey Weinstein is a serial predator and rapist.

“Most men are good men – it’s the serial perpetrators of violence against women who are the harm to our society.”

Silence Breakers Group, representing women who accused Weinstein and others of sexual misconduct

“The news today is not only disheartening, but it’s profoundly unjust.

“But this ruling does not diminish the validity of our experiences or our truth; it’s merely a setback. The man found guilty continues to serve time in a California prison. When survivors everywhere broke their silence in 2017, the world changed. We continue to stand strong and advocate for that change. We will continue to fight for justice for survivors everywhere.”

Emily Tuttle, spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg

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

Douglas Wigdor, lawyer for eight Weinstein accusers

“Today’s decision is a major step back in holding those accountable for acts of sexual violence. Courts routinely admit evidence of other uncharged acts where they assist juries in understanding issues concerning the intent, modus operandi or scheme of the defendant. The jury was instructed on the relevance of this testimony and overturning the verdict is tragic in that it will require the victims to endure yet another trial.”

Source: News Agencies