Friday, April 26, 2024

Harvey Weinstein Conviction Overturned

AP reports:
New York’s highest court on Thursday overturned Harvey Weinstein ’s 2020 rape conviction, finding the judge at the landmark #MeToo trial prejudiced the ex-movie mogul with “egregious” improper rulings, including a decision to let women testify about allegations that weren’t part of the case.

“We conclude that the trial court erroneously admitted testimony of uncharged, alleged prior sexual acts against persons other than the complainants of the underlying crimes,” the court’s 4-3 decision said. “The remedy for these egregious errors is a new trial.”

The state Court of Appeals ruling reopens a painful chapter in America’s reckoning with sexual misconduct by powerful figures — an era that began in 2017 with a flood of allegations against Weinstein. His accusers could again be forced to retell their stories on the witness stand.

The court’s majority said “it is an abuse of judicial discretion to permit untested allegations of nothing more than bad behavior that destroys a defendant’s character but sheds no light on their credibility as related to the criminal charges lodged against them.”

This was a strange case. The news media was filled with reports of as many as 100 accusers, and yet there was no firm evidence. The main accuser in court was contradicted by a lot of evidence that the affair was consensual.

Weinstein was only convicted by convincing the jury that Weinstein had a pattern of bad behavior, as indicated by uncharged accusations.

Here is the court opinion.

I previously posted that Weinstein is innocent, and did not get a fair NY trial. I did not follow the LA trial.

Another trial disaster is the various charges against the founders of Backpage, an online service similar to Craigslist. Here is the latest:

A federal judge has acquitted Backpage co-founder Michael Lacey of dozens of counts, including a majority of those on which federal prosecutors planned to retry Lacey later this year. U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa also acquitted former Backpage executives Jed Brunst and Scott Spear on multiple counts of which they were convicted by a jury last fall.
This was a big story because of the sex trafficking charges, but they all appear bogus. Lacey was just found guilty of "international concealment of money laundering", whatever that is.

The feds were out to shut down Backpage because some prostitutes liked to advertise on it, but it was really just an ad site, and the company should not have been liable for personal ads. The feds claimed that there were underage girls on the site, but I don't think anyone proved that.

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