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Harvey Weinstein faces retrial after #MeToo rape conviction overturned

Click to play video: 'Harvey Weinstein expected to return to NYC court as he faces a retrial of #MeToo rape case'
Harvey Weinstein expected to return to NYC court as he faces a retrial of #MeToo rape case
WATCH: Disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein is expected to return to a New York City court Wednesday as he faces a retrial of his landmark #MeToo-era rape case – May 29, 2024

Prosecutors asked for a September retrial for Harvey Weinstein during a hearing Wednesday in Manhattan, the disgraced movie mogul’s first court appearance since his 2020 rape conviction was overturned by an appeals court last week.

One of Weinstein’s accusers, Jessica Mann, is prepared to testify again, prosecutor Nicole Blumberg told the judge, suggesting locking in a date after Labour Day.

Blumberg noted Mann was in the courtroom Wednesday, and said she wants everyone to know that the defendant “may have power” but “she has the truth.”

Click to play video: 'What led to Harvey Weinstein’s overturned 2020 rape conviction?'
What led to Harvey Weinstein’s overturned 2020 rape conviction?

“We believe in this case and will be retrying this case,” she said.

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Weinstein, wearing a navy blue suit, was seated in a wheelchair at the preliminary hearing. The 72-year-old, who has cardiac issues and diabetes, has been in a hospital since his return to the city jail system Friday from an upstate prison.

Harvey Weinstein appears at Manhattan criminal court for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 in New York. Weinstein made first appearance since his 2020 rape conviction was overturned by an appeals court last week. (David Dee Delgado/Pool Photo via AP

In court, his attorney, Arthur Aidala, said he has no concern about his client’s mental abilities, describing Weinstein as “sharp as a tack. As sharp as he ever was.”

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Aidala said his client wants to prove his innocence: “It’s a new trial. It’s a new day.”

In the New York case that is now overturned, Weinstein was convicted of rape in the third degree for an attack on aspiring actor Mann in 2013, and of forcing himself on a TV and film production assistant, Mimi Haley, in 2006. Weinstein had pleaded not guilty and maintained any sexual activity was consensual.

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The Associated Press does not generally identify people alleging sexual assault unless they consent to be named, as Haley and Mann have.

Speaking after the hearing, Haley’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, said her client still hasn’t decided whether she wants to testify at the retrial, noting that doing so at the original trial was traumatizing and painful. Haley was not in court Wednesday, Allred said.

Weinstein was also convicted in Los Angeles in 2022 of another rape and is still sentenced to another 16 years in prison in California.

But he remains in custody in New York, and will head back to Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital, where he is expected to remain until his trial, Aidala said.

“He’s in constant pain that he’s fighting through. He’s fighting the best he can,” the attorney said, adding that he has nevertheless been reading avidly behind bars, including biographies on Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt.

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FILE – Former film producer Harvey Weinstein appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 4 2022. Etienne Laurent / Pool Photo via AP, File)

“Harvey Weinstein was used to drinking champagne and eating caviar and now he’s at the commissary paying for potato chips and M&Ms” but is making the best of it, Aidala said.

On Thursday, the New York Court of Appeals vacated his conviction in a 4-3 decision, erasing his 23-year prison sentence, after concluding a trial judge permitted jurors to see and hear too much evidence not directly related to what he was charged with.

The ruling shocked and disappointed women who celebrated historic gains during the era of #MeToo, a movement that ushered in a wave of sexual misconduct claims in Hollywood and beyond.

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