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Accusers of Harvey Weinstein want new trial after overturned rape and assault conviction



Accusers of Harvey Weinstein want new trial after overturned rape and assault conviction


When Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was discovered responsible of two intercourse crimes in February 2020, the conviction was hailed as a landmark second within the #MeToo motion.

Now, over 4 years later, the ruling from the New York Courtroom of Appeals overturning that conviction has despatched shockwaves by communities of sexual assault survivors, significantly the greater than 100 ladies who’ve accused Weinstein of assault and harassment.

“This at the moment is an act of institutional betrayal,” actor and activist Ashley Judd, who was among the many first ladies to publicly accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment, stated at an occasion on the UN for office security. “Our establishments betray survivors of male sexual violence.”

Accusers who spoke with CNN on Thursday echoed Judd’s frustration with the appeals courtroom’s resolution. Some expressed gratitude that Weinstein was convicted and sentenced to a prolonged jail time period in a Los Angeles courtroom on related fees.

“It is a very unhappy day for numerous ladies who suffered by the hands of a serial predator,” stated Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the spouse of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who accused Weinstein of rape and testified within the Los Angeles trial.

“Harvey Weinstein is a serial predator and rapist,” she stated. “The bravery of the ladies who got here ahead ensures that no matter what occurs in New York, Weinstein will die in jail.”

Weinstein, 72, has maintained his innocence and denied any nonconsensual sexual exercise.

He was convicted in 2020 in New York of first-degree prison sexual act and third-degree rape, and he was sentenced to 23 years in jail. Nonetheless, the state courtroom of appeals overturned that conviction Thursday and ordered a brand new trial, stating that the usage of “prior dangerous acts” witnesses shouldn’t have been allowed.

The Manhattan District Legal professional’s Workplace stated it plans to retry the case. “We are going to do the whole lot in our energy to retry this case, and stay steadfast in our dedication to survivors of sexual assault,” stated workplace spokesperson Emily Tuttle.

Weinstein’s lawyer Arthur Aidala stated his consumer will likely be prepared for a retrial “on the primary day we stroll into that courtroom.”

As well as, final 12 months, in a case out of Los Angeles, Weinstein was sentenced to 16 years in jail after being convicted of rape and sexual assault. That case has additionally been appealed.

Right here’s a take a look at how a few of his accusers have reacted to the choice.

‘Disheartening’ and ‘profoundly unjust’

The Silence Breakers, a gaggle of Weinstein accusers, referred to as the information “disheartening” and “profoundly unjust.” The group stated when sexual assault survivors broke their silence in 2017, “the world modified,” including that Weinstein’s ruling “doesn’t diminish the validity of our experiences or our reality; it’s merely a setback.”

Elizabeth Fegan, an lawyer who represented a number of ladies within the sexual abuse instances introduced in opposition to Weinstein, together with Siebel Newson, stated, “Some thought the L.A. case to be superfluous in mild of the NY verdict, however now we understand how essential it was.”

“The California survivors stepped into the road of fireplace, placing themselves by huge emotional ache reliving the sexual abuse they suffered by the hands of Weinstein,” Fegan stated. “They had been adamant that whatever the New York verdict on enchantment the prosecutors in California ought to pursue fees to make sure Weinstein stayed behind bars.”

Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, an activist and mannequin who was one of many first ladies to accuse Weinstein of wrongdoing, stated the ruling was one other instance of the “ongoing failure of the justice system – and the courts – to take survivors severely and to guard our pursuits.” She stated she and different survivors count on Manhattan District Legal professional Alvin Bragg to “pursue Weinstein now.”

In 2015, Gutierrez filed a sexual abuse grievance with the New York Police Division in opposition to Weinstein, stating that he groped her throughout a gathering. The following day, the NYPD’s Particular Victims Division requested her to put on a recording machine and discuss to him once more, and within the recording, Weinstein made doubtlessly incriminating feedback to Gutierrez, apologizing for touching her breast.

Regardless of the recording, New York prosecutors cited a scarcity of proof within the case and declined to prosecute. Gutierrez later reached an undisclosed settlement with Weinstein.

Daybreak Dunning, who testified as a “prior dangerous acts” witness in Weinstein’s New York trial, stated she was “surprised that the courtroom threw out Weinstein’s conviction on authorized technicalities.” Nonetheless, she stated she was proud that she testified and “confronted that convicted rapist.”

“Making ready for the trial took two years of my life. I needed to relive the trauma of the assault every single day. However since at the moment’s ruling, individuals have requested me if I remorse having testified,” Dunning stated. “And my reply is a convincing, ‘No.’

“I got here ahead to help different ladies who had been additionally sexually abused by Weinstein and to make sure that he could be held accountable. I had nothing to realize, and far to lose by way of lack of privateness and the trauma that comes with confronting one’s abuser in courtroom. I’m a stronger individual for having achieved so, and I do know that different ladies discovered energy and braveness as a result of I and different Weinstein survivors confronted him publicly. The tradition has modified, and I’m assured that there isn’t any going again,” she stated.

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Hear a few of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers

Actress Caitlin Dulany, who accused Weinstein of assaulting her through the Cannes Movie Competition in 1996, referred to as for reform within the justice system.

“I’m deeply saddened and completely devastated by at the moment’s ruling,” Dulany advised CNN. “There are such a lot of of us who lived silently with our tales for years, for concern of retribution and with the idea that we couldn’t search and obtain justice. What Harvey Weinstein did to us affected our lives and careers in methods that we are going to by no means recuperate from. What occurred at the moment is a travesty of justice – however I’m not stunned. The justice system is in deep want of reform. It is a horrible setback for survivors in every single place who’re courageous sufficient to return ahead with the tales of abuse.”

Sarah Ann Masse, an actress and founding father of the group Rent Survivors Hollywood, advised CNN, “No matter at the moment’s ruling, the reality of what Harvey Weinstein did was by no means in query. Lengthy earlier than the trials, lengthy earlier than the silence was damaged within the press, lengthy earlier than this was worldwide information, these of us who had been abused by him knew that this man was a sexual predator. The next courtroom rulings served as a type of justice, an affirmation that we had been believed, and a step in direction of difficult societal beliefs which can be constructed on a basis of rape tradition and sufferer blaming.”

Masse – who appeared in Common’s film “She Stated,” which chronicled the journalists who broke the bombshell allegations in opposition to Weinstein – added, “Please know that nothing about at the moment’s resolution implies or states that Weinstein is harmless.”

Jessica Barth, an actress and activist who based the group Voices in Motion, stated the choice was a step backwards.

“The choice to overturn Harvey Weinstein’s conviction is a tragic step backwards within the struggle for justice and accountability for victims of sexual violence and it units a harmful precedent regarding sexual assault instances,” she stated. “Proof of prior dangerous acts to be able to show a sample of conduct is commonly allowed in prison instances and will completely be allowed in sexual assault instances.”

Attorneys Debra S. Katz and Lisa Banks, who represented Dunning, additionally referred to as on Bragg to retry the case to “be certain that Weinstein receives the punishment that he deserves.”

Miriam “Mimi” Haley, whose testimony made up the first-degree prison sexual act cost, “would take into account testifying once more” in a possible retrial, her lawyer Gloria Allred stated in an announcement.

“Regardless that the method of testifying was grueling and retraumatizing for Mimi, she reaffirmed to me at the moment that she would take into account testifying once more if (Manhattan) District Legal professional Alvin Bragg determined to proceed with a brand new trial of Harvey Weinstein,” Allred stated. “I commend Mimi on her braveness and willingness to maintain standing up for the reality.”

Years earlier than Weinstein was on trial, Anita Hill turned a nationwide determine when she accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, testifying in opposition to him throughout his 1991 Supreme Courtroom affirmation listening to. Immediately, Hill is the chair and president of The Hollywood Fee, which carried out a survey all through the leisure trade about sexual harassment and different inappropriate behaviors.

Reacting to Weinstein’s conviction being overturned, Hill stated, “Now we have seen a scarcity of progress in addressing the facility imbalances that permit abuse to happen and that sexual assault continues to be a pervasive drawback. Many survivors don’t pursue justice as a result of they consider nothing will likely be achieved. Immediately’s resolution underscores the pressing want for systemic adjustments in our establishments – and redoubles our dedication to survivors to push for the insurance policies and techniques that can guarantee accountability and produce about workplaces free from the conduct that drives the necessity for these techniques within the first place.”

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