Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers say Bill Cosby reversal means he too will be cleared

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Lawyers for Harvey Weinstein say they’re encouraged by the reversal of Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction (AP)
Lawyers for Harvey Weinstein say they’re encouraged by the reversal of Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction (AP)

Lawyers for convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein praised the reversal of Bill Cosby’s conviction, calling it “the correct decision” and saying it gives hope for their own client.

“In reversing the conviction of Bill Cosby, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has demonstrated, once again, that no matter who a defendant may be and no matter the nature of the crime, courts can be relied upon to follow the law and come to the correct decision,” Mr Weinstein’s attorneys said in a statement.

Mr Cosby was released from prison on Wednesday after Pennsylvania’s highest court overturned his 2018 sexual assault conviction. The 83-year-old comedian had served just two years of his three-to-ten-year sentence.

Lawyers for Mr Weinstein are seeking a similar result in New York, where they’re currently appealing his 2020 rape conviction.

“This decision also reaffirms our confidence that the Appellate Division in New York will reach the similarly correct decision in Harvey Weinstein’s appeal, considering the abundance of issues that cry out for a reversal,” the lawyers added on Wednesday.

Mr Cosby and Mr Weinstein were arguably the two highest-profile targets of the #MeToo movement, which saw the unearthing sexual assault accusations against powerful men in 2017. While Mr Cosby was a world-famous comedian and television star, Mr Weinstein was an Oscar-winning producer and Hollywood mogul.

Both men were accused of non-consensual sex by dozens of women. More than 80 women came forward to accuse Mr Weinstein. For Mr Cosby, that number was at least 60.

Mr Cosby was convicted of sexually assaulting one of those women, Andrea Constand. But on Wednesday, the majority of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court threw that conviction out on what was essentially a technicality: a state prosecutor, Bruce Castor, had struck a deal with Cosby’s lawyers in 2005 not to bring criminal charges in exchange for his testimony in a civil case.

“In light of these circumstances, the subsequent decision by successor DAs to prosecute Cosby violated Cosby’s due process rights,” Justice David Wecht wrote. “There is only one remedy that can completely restore Cosby to the status quo ante. He must be discharged, and any future prosecution on these particular charges must be barred.”

Mr Cosby’s legal team celebrated the decision.

“We’ve said from day one, we just didn’t think he was treated fairly. And that...the system has to be fair, and fortunately the Supreme Court agreed with us,” attorney Brian Perry said at a press conference on Wednesday. “He’s happy, his wife is happy. The system only works if it’s fair to all sides. That’s the bottom line.”

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