Senate passes bill to tighten law used to overturn Harvey Weinstein conviction

23 May 2024, 08:24

New York-Sexual Assault Evidence
New York-Sexual Assault Evidence. Picture: PA

Evidence of previous sexual offences may be heard in sex crimes cases, even not directly pertaining to the crime

The New York state senate on Wednesday passed a bill to explicitly allow evidence of prior sexual offences in sex crimes cases, a move to change the legal standard Harvey Weinstein used to overturn his rape conviction.

The senate approved the bill 55-4. The proposal now moves to the state assembly.

Legislators began pushing the measure weeks after the state’s high court threw out Weinstein’s conviction in a ruling that found a trial judge unfairly allowed women to testify about assault allegations that were not part of the criminal charges against him.

The state does allow such evidence in limited instances, such as to prove a motive or plan, but the rules are determined by existing legal precedent rather than state law.

Sexual-Misconduct-Harvey-Weinstein
In early May, Weinstein made the first appearance since his 2020 rape conviction after it was overturned by an appeals court last week. (David Dee Delgado/Pool Photo via AP)

The bill would make clear that evidence of previous sexual offences can be heard in sex crime cases, even if those prior allegations are not directly part of the underlying criminal charges. The proposal would also give judges discretion not to allow such testimony if it would create “undue prejudice” against a defendant.

The bill’s sponsors said its language is similar to a standard used by the federal government and more than a dozen other states.

The Legal Aid Society, which provides free legal representation, has warned that the proposal would confuse jurors by allowing too much outside evidence at trials and result in unfair convictions.

Weinstein has denied the charges against him in New York, which include allegedly raping an aspiring actor and sexually assaulting a production assistant.

His 2020 conviction was a major moment in the #MeToo movement. He is expected to be retried in September.

The disgraced movie mogul has separately been convicted of rape in California and sentenced to 16 years in prison there. He remains jailed in New York.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Jay Slater had travelled to the Canary Islands for a music festival

Owner of flat where missing Brit Jay Slater was staying in Tenerife spotted him 'walking fast' up dangerous ravine

Nigel Farage said that the West had provoked Putin into invading Ukraine

'We gave Putin an excuse': Nigel Farage says the West provoked Russia into invading Ukraine

Jay Slater Tenerife timeline: Hunt for missing British teen Jay Slater enters fifth day - here's what we know

Tenerife timeline: Hunt for missing British teen Jay Slater enters fifth day as Guardia Civill release search footage

Footage has emerged showing Jay Slater hours before he went missing

Missing Jay Slater seen on video at packed Tenerife rave just hours before he vanished as search enters fourth night

When Putin met Kim: Leaders cement alliance with limo drive, concert and pony stroking outing

When Putin met Kim: Leaders cement alliance with limo drive, concert and pony stroking outing

Farah El Kadhi

Influencer Farah El Kadhi dies aged 36 after 'suffering heart attack on yacht holiday in Malta'

Jay Slater's family have warned people about donating to fake pages

Last person to speak to missing Jay Slater claims he has been kidnapped and ‘something sinister is going on’

Travis Scott

Travis Scott arrested for 'disorderly intoxication and trespassing'

Serbia threatens to quit Euros over Croatia and Albania fans' 'kill the Serbs' chanting - throwing England's group into chaos

Serbia threatens to quit Euros over Croatia and Albania fans' 'kill the Serbs' chants - throwing England's group into chaos

Jay Slater's family have warned people about donating to fake pages

Jay Slater, missing Brit in Tenerife, rang friend to say he'd 'cut his leg on cactus' and 'didn't know where he was'

German police

'Isis terrorist sleeper agent' arrested in Germany near Euro 2024 host city

Here's everything we know about missing teenager Jay Slater.

Everything we know about missing British teenager Jay Slater who vanished on holiday in Tenerife

Jay Slater's family have warned people about donating to fake pages

'I just want my baby back': Mother of missing Brit Jay Slater, 19, issues plea after 'false sighting' delays search

OceanGate co-founder Guillermo Söhnlein is pictured with CEO Stockton Rush, who died on the Titan sub

Oceangate co-founder claims he can 'safely' send 1,000 people to Venus

Justin Timberlake was arrested on Tuesday

'We'll have a lot to say': Justin Timberlake's lawyer vows to 'vigorously defend' singer after DWI arrest

Putin has visited North Korea

Putin and Kim share 'pent-up inmost thoughts' as Russian and North Korean leaders vow to forge 'multi-polar world'