Rapist Harvey Weinstein 'upbeat' about appealing conviction

25 February 2020, 22:45

Convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein is "upbeat" about his appeal, his lawyer has said
Convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein is "upbeat" about his appeal, his lawyer has said. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is "upbeat" and "energised" about appealing against his sexual assault and third-degree rape conviction, his lawyer has said.

Weinstein, 67, currently faces up to 29 years in prison for his crimes after being found guilty by a Manhattan jury on Monday.

He was immediately remanded in prison ahead of his sentencing on 11 March, but was taken to hospital earlier today complaining to be tested for heart palpitations and high blood pressure.

Lawyer Arthur Aidala called it "a precautionary measure to take him here and make sure his vitals and everything were OK", and said it was not clear how long Weinstein would be in the hospital.

Weinstein greeted his lawyer, unhandcuffed, in a large hospital room with jail officers outside and was looking forward to visitors, Mr Aidala added.

"He's in pretty good spirits. He's energised," the lawyer told reporters.

Weinstein currently faces up to 29 years in prison
Weinstein currently faces up to 29 years in prison. Picture: PA

He said the former Hollywood studio boss was insisting on his innocence and was "somewhat flabbergasted by the verdict", but determined to fight on.

"There is a portion of him where he's just scratching his head and he doesn't know how this happened, but he's cautiously optimistic" about prevailing on appeal, Mr Aidala said.

His remarks came after Mimi Haleyi, a former production assistant who accused Weinstein of forcing oral sex on her in 2006, called the verdict "a huge relief".

"I just think that we're being educated about the reality of sexual assault and sexual assault victims," Ms Haleyi said on CBS This Morning.

"It's not always just a stranger. It's very often somebody that the person knows, and with that comes an entire other layer of processing," she said.

"Whatever the verdict had been, it wouldn't have changed what happened to me, but obviously it was terrifying to think that I wouldn't be believed," she added later on MSNBC.

Weinstein faces a possible sentence of five to 29 years after a Manhattan jury convicted him of sexually assaulting Ms Haleyi and raping an aspiring actress in 2013. He was acquitted of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault.

Weinstein has maintained that any sex between him and his accusers was consensual.

Asked about Weinstein on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump called the disgraced producer's conviction a "great victory" for women that "sends a very strong message".

"He was a person I didn't like," Mr Trump told reporters during a news conference in India.

"The people that liked him were the Democrats. Michelle Obama loved him. Loved him. Hillary Clinton loved him."

Mr Trump himself stands accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women when he was a private citizen. He has denied the allegations and has not been charged.