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Manhattan District Attorney prosecutor says they will retry Harvey Weinstein sex crimes case

<i>Seth Wenig/AP via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein
Seth Wenig/AP via CNN Newsource
Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein

By Eric Levenson and Lauren del Valle, CNN

(CNN) — The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will retry the sex crimes case against Harvey Weinstein, a prosecutor told the court Wednesday at the former movie producer’s first hearing since his conviction was overturned.

The judge ordered Weinstein remain in custody ahead of his retrial, with the next hearing set for May 29.

Weinstein, 72, had been convicted in 2020 of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape and was sentenced to 23 years in prison. But last week, the New York Court of Appeals by a 4-3 vote overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial, saying the trial judge wrongly admitted the testimony of three “prior bad acts” witnesses and incorrectly allowed prosecutors to question Weinstein about instances of verbal abuse.

The court’s ruling upended the case against Weinstein, whose downfall stood as a symbol of the success of the #MeToo movement.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said last week it planned to retry the case, and prosecutor Nicole Blumberg made that position official in court Wednesday. She said they want to retry the case quickly – as soon as September, if possible.

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg also arrived to court with Jessica Mann, one of the key accusers in the case, as a show of unity.

“Jessica Mann is here in court to show she is not backing down,” Blumberg said. She added this was a strong case previously and “remains a strong case in 2024.”

Weinstein arrived to court in a wheelchair and was wearing a suit. Arthur Aidala, his attorney, said Weinstein “has very serious medical issues” and has been at Bellevue Hospital, but said he was still mentally able.

“He’s as sharp as a tack and as smart as he ever was,” Aidala said.

He pushed back on the prosecutor’s assertion that the case is strong, saying, “He was acquitted of the most serious counts.” He asked that the charges Weinstein was acquitted of be removed from the charging document.

Weinstein has maintained his innocence and denied any nonconsensual sexual activity.

Outside court after the hearing, Aidala said the defense only plans to ask for bail in New York if they successfully get bail pending appeal in the California case. He said Weinstein was in frail health but in good spirits.

“The human spirit is very powerful. Weinstein was used to drinking champagne and eating caviar, and now he’s at the commissary paying for potato chips and M&Ms, but he keeps his chin up and makes the best out of a very horrible situation,” Aidala said.

How we got here

The court appearance came more than six years after reporting by The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017 revealed Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual abuse, harassment and secret settlements as he used his influence as a Hollywood power broker to take advantage of young women.

At the time, Weinstein was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood and helped produce movies such as “Pulp Fiction,” “Clerks” and “Shakespeare in Love.” The revelations led to a wave of women speaking publicly about the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and harassment in what became known as the #MeToo movement.

Yet #MeToo has had mixed success in the courtroom, and this is the second high-profile case to be overturned on appeal. The comedian Bill Cosby was convicted in 2018 of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman, but a Pennsylvania appeals court overturned the conviction in 2021, saying his due process rights were violated.

In addition to the New York case, Weinstein was sentenced last year in Los Angeles to 16 years in prison for charges of rape and sexual assault. That trial similarly used “prior bad acts” witnesses and also has been appealed.

The New York charges were directly based on the testimony of Miriam Haley and Mann. Haley testified that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006 at his Manhattan apartment, and Mann testified that he raped her in 2013 during what she described as an abusive relationship.

Manhattan prosecutors could face some significant challenges in retrying Weinstein’s case.

Haley said last week she would consider testifying again in a retrial but noted the downsides of doing so. After Wednesday’s hearing, her attorney Gloria Allred said Haley still has not decided whether she will testify again.

“It involves so much re-traumatizing and re-hashing and re-living over and over again,” Haley said. “I definitely don’t want to go through that again.”

She continued, “This isn’t just about me. It’s a really important case. It’s in the public eye, which is difficult for me personally, but is important for the collective. Those are the reasons I would still do it again. I’m not just doing it for myself.”

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Elizabeth Wagmeister and Jean Casarez contributed to this report.

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