Harvey Weinstein has hired Bill Cosby's lawyer to appeal rape conviction
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Harvey Weinstein has hired a new legal team to handle his Los Angeles appeal, after he was sentenced to 16 years in prison, following a guilty verdict for sexual assault and rape.
In February this year, the disgraced film producer, whose predatory behaviour came to light in 2017 and galvanised the #MeToo movement, was given 16 additional years on top of the 23-year prison term he’s currently serving.
A jury in Los Angeles found Weinstein guilty on three counts of rape and sexual assault, against a single victim during the trial, which took take place in December 2022. The woman is a European model and actor who testified anonymously as “Jane Doe #1”.
The new sentence almost doubles the 70-year-old former Hollywood heavyweights' remaining prison time.
Jurors acquitted Weinstein of assaulting a female massage therapist and failed to make a verdict on whether he raped or assaulted two other women. This includes actor and film producer, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who is married to Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor of California.
Weinstein has now hired California-based attorney, Michael Freedman, who will work alongside Jennifer Bonjean, known as the defence attorney who got Bill Cosby’s conviction overturned. She is also known for defending high-profile men accused during the #MeToo movement. Cosby, 85, who is best known for starring in the 1980s sitcom, The Cosby Show, was charged in 2015 after being accused of drugging and molesting an employee of Temple University at his estate in 2004. He has long maintained his innocence.
The disgraced actor and comedian was arrested just days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired, and following a trial, he was found guilty of the charges.
In June 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an opinion to vacate his conviction; a decision it reached after reviewing two aspects of the case Cosby’s lawyers challenged.
Bonjean representing Cosby on his appeal before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court which resulted in his release. Before working for Cosby, Bonjean worked as R. Kelly’s lead attorney during his criminal trial in Chicago.
Weinstein’s new legal team will represent him in his civil case against Jane Doe #1, who testified she was raped and assaulted in 2013. Her testimony led to his conviction in Los Angeles in February and after the trial, she filed a civil suit against the Weinstein Company co-founder. She is seeking compensation for physical and mental pain and suffering, loss of earnings and the cost of medical and psychological treatment.
Weinstein is also currently appealing his conviction in New York, where he was sentenced to 23 years 2020. He is serving his time in Mohawk Correctional Facility in New York.