New York’s highest court has agreed to hear disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s appeal challenging his 2020 conviction on sex crime charges, according to a copy of the court filing provided by Weinstein’s team.
Appeals Chief Judge Janet DiFiore’s ruling will allow Weinstein’s lawyers to argue their case before the court, more than two years after he was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape charges and sentenced to 23 years in prison.
The judge on August 19 signed the certificate to grant leave, which stated that “questions of law are involved which ought to be reviewed by the Court of Appeals.”
The allegations against the once-powerful movie producer fueled the global #MeToo movement and encouraged women to speak out against sexual abuse. His sentencing in New York garnered praise from prosecutors and leaders of the movement.
Weinstein has maintained his innocence and denied all allegations against him since they first emerged. In a motion filed last year, his attorneys argued Weinstein’s conviction should be reversed because his trial was tainted for several reasons, most notably a biased judge and juror.
“I am innocent of these charges, and I am so grateful to my attorneys for working hard and smart work on this. Their hard work will help me prove my innocence in the end,” Weinstein said in a statement to CNN through a spokesperson. “I look forward to this opportunity to be heard by the The New York Court of Appeals.
Weinstein’s spokesperson Juda Engelmayer said in a statement to CNN that Weinstein’s team is grateful for the rare opportunity of being allowed to argue their case before the state’s highest court, adding that there “was plenty wrong with the trial and conviction and Harvey’s attorneys will do what is needed to prove his innocence of the charges.”
A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which prosecuted the case, declined to comment on the court’s certificate granting Weinstein’s application.
Weinstein’s 2020 trial saw the testimony of several actresses, a production assistant and a scriptwriter. The charges against him were based on the testimony of former production assistant Miriam Haley and former actress Jessica Mann.
Haley testified that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006 at his Manhattan apartment. Mann testified that he raped her in 2013 during what she described as an abusive relationship.
In June, a lower state appeals court rejected his request to appeal his sex act and rape convictions. In attempting to overturn the convictions, Weinstein’s attorneys argued trial jurors were overwhelmed by “bad evidence” and that one juror who had written a book involving “predatory men” should have been dismissed.
Weinstein has been serving his prison sentence in Los Angeles, where he still faces sexual assault charges involving multiple women. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is due back in court later this year.