Lawyers for Harvey Weinstein have filed an appeal on Monday, April 5, to ask for a new trial and to reverse his sex crimes conviction.
A motion was filed at the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division arguing that his 23-year conviction should be reversed because the trial was tainted by a biased juror and biased judge, among other points addressed in the documents seen by OK!.
"A verdict of guilt was inevitable. A reviewing court now has the opportunity to correct this miscarriage of justice," a press release announcing the appeal claimed. Weinstein is being held in a maximum-security prison outside of Buffalo for first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape, according to state records.
Of the five charges in the New York City case, he was found not guilty of two counts of predatory sexual assault; he has maintained his behavior was inappropriate but not criminal.
The new 166-page brief argued that Juror No. 11 violated Weinstein’s right to a fair and impartial jury after she was allegedly not transparent during jury selection about the fact that she was writing a novel about "predatory" older men with relationships with younger women, but lead prosecutor Joan Illuzzi argued that Juror No. 11 disclosed that she enjoyed "novel writing" on her questionnaire at the time.
Weinstein’s lawyers also argued that jurors should not have heard testimony from "prior bad acts" witnesses about allegations unrelated to the sexual assault charges. "Weinstein's trial was overwhelmed by excessive, random, and highly dubious prior bad act evidence, none of which shed light on disputed issues relevant to the charged offenses," reads the filing.
"Because the evidence on the charged offenses was weak, the prosecution inundated the jury with copious tales of alleged misconduct (much of which was not criminal in nature) that served no legitimate evidentiary purpose but merely depicted Weinstein as loathsome," the document claimed.
Additionally, the appeal noted that the judge threatened Weinstein with jail time for life for use of his phone before the judge entered the courtroom. "All I meant to do was scare him enough for him to discontinue use of his phones," Judge James Burke explained at the time of the incident, denying the defense's motion for relief and recusal. "I never actually meant that I was going to put your client in jail for life," he clarified at the time.
Weinstein’s conviction was largely based on testimony from former assistant Miriam Haley, who claimed that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006, and aspiring actress Jessica Mann, who testified that he raped her in 2013 during a relationship she described as abusive.