Attorney Arthur Aidala told DailyMail.com that Wednesday’s decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court showed that courts could ‘come to the correct decision’ if allowed to.
Aidala said that he was sure that the Appellate Division in New York, where Weinstein lodged his appeal against his conviction and 23 year jail sentence, will be overturned because of the ‘abundance of issues that cry out for a reversal’.
Weinstein, 69, was found guilty in February 2000 after a two month trial in what was seen as a landmark case in the #MeToo movement.
Apart from Cosby, 83, Weinstein was the most high profile person found guilty in court following the wave of allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful men.
Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers tell DailyMail.com that Cosby’s overturned conviction ‘reaffirms our confidence’ that Weinstein will be cleared as well
Bill Cosby arrives at his home directly after his release from prison on Wednesday.
Cosby walks to address the media after arriving home Wednesday from his release
Cosby’s attorneys had raised a concern on appeal about the decision by the trial judge to allow five other accusers to testify about their experiences with Cosby in the 1980s.
Attorney Arthur Aidala said that the decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court showed that courts could ‘come to the correct decision’ if allowed to
The women were brought to the court to establish what prosecutors said was a pattern of behavior on Cosby’s part.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices voiced concern not just about sex assault cases, but what they saw as the judiciary’s increasing tendency to allow testimony that crosses the line into character attacks.
However, the court did not formally rule on the issue of the character witnesses, because a separate legal question, on Cosby’s prior non-prosecution deal, rendered the question moot.
In Weinstein’s case, the judge also allowed women whose character allegations did not directly relate to the charges to testify under a similar arrangement as in the Cosby trial.
In a statement, Aidala said: ‘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.
‘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’.
Weinstein was convicted of one count of criminal sexual act on former production assistant Mimi Haleyi, for which he could be jailed for up to 25 years.
He was also found guilty of one count of third degree rape in relation to Jessica Mann, who was an aspiring actress at the time.
Weinstein, 69, was found guilty in February 2000 after a two month trial in what was seen as a landmark case in the #MeToo movement
Among the other women who gave evidence against Weinstein, even though he was not criminally charged for their allegations, was Sopranos actress Anabella Sciorra
Among the other women who gave evidence against Weinstein, even though he was not criminally charged for their allegations, was Sopranos actress Anabella Sciorra.
She alleged that Weinstein barged into her apartment in the winter of 1993-1994 and raped her despite her telling him to stop.
Weinstein is currently serving his sentence at the Wende Correctional facility in upstate New York.
Earlier this month a judge approved his extradition to Los Angeles where he faces nearly a dozen sex crimes.
LA prosecutors have accused him of 11 felony counts of sexual assault, including forcible rape, against five women dating back to 2004.
He has pleaded not guilty to all the allegations.
Weinstein’s appeal to his New York conviction ran to 166 pages and cited a number of ‘errors’ that meant the trial was unfair.
The document said that the trial was ‘tainted by a single juror who demonstrated a strong and disqualifying bias in favor of the prosecution’ because she was writing a book about sexual harassment of younger women by older men.
The document also claimed that the testimony of women like Sciorra unfairly influenced the jury.
Could Cosby ruling impact Weinstein case? Disgraced mogul has already filed appeal challenging the character witnesses prosecutors brought forth at trial
At the heart of Wednesday’s ruling from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is a non-prosecution deal that Cosby made with prosecutors nearly a decade prior to his arrest.
By removing his right to protect himself against self-incrimination in criminal court, the deal forced Cosby to testify in a civil case brought by Andrea Constand, and Constand won a reported cash settlement of $3.38 million.
But the deposition Cosby gave in the civil trial was unsealed in 2015 and used as evidence to criminally charge Cosby by District Attorney Kevin Steele, who succeeded the prosecutor who agreed not to prosecute Cosby.
Justice David Wecht, writing for a split court, said Cosby had relied on the former district attorney’s decision not to charge him when the comedian gave his potentially incriminating testimony in the Constand’s civil case, which was then used against him in violation of the non-prosecution deal.
Cosby seems to crack a smile as he arrives home after being released from jail
The court ruling on Wednesday called Cosby’s arrest ‘an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was forgone for more than a decade.’
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court did not rule on Cosby’s second issue of appeal, the question of whether it was appropriate for prosecutors to bring ‘prior bad acts’ character witnesses at trial, a move that Weinstein’s prosecutors also used.
Even though Cosby was charged only with the assault on Constand, the trial judge allowed five other accusers to testify that they, too, were similarly victimized by Cosby in the 1980s in cases that were never prosecuted.
Prosecutors called them as witnesses to establish what they said was a pattern of criminal behavior on Cosby’s part — a decision they justified by saying there was a ‘signature’ element to the alleged crimes.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices voiced concern about what they saw as the judiciary’s increasing tendency to allow testimony that crosses the line into character attacks.
State law allows ‘prior bad acts’ testimony only in limited cases, including to show a crime pattern so specific it serves to identify the perpetrator, for example in the case of a serial killer who leaves a unique signature of evidence.
But the court declined to say whether five other accusers should have been allowed to testify, considering it moot given the finding that Cosby should not have been prosecuted in the first place.
Even though Cosby was charged only with the assault on Constand (above), the trial judge allowed five other accusers to testify that they, too, were similarly victimized
In New York, the judge presiding over last year´s trial of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, let four other ‘prior bad acts’ accusers testify.
Weinstein was convicted and sentenced to 23 years in prison. He is now facing separate charges in California.
His attorneys have already filed a sprawling 106-page appeal arguing that he did not receive a fair trial. One of their arguments is that the parade of character witnesses unfairly influenced the jury.
Legal experts expressed a range of reactions to Wednesday’s ruling in the Cosby case.
Ari Melber, the chief legal correspondent for MSNBC, called the ruling ‘bizarre’ and ‘controversial.’
‘This is absolutely wild, this is one of those rulings that may be technically legally valid… but it is a wild and at times bizarre road to get to this point,’ he said in on-air commentary.
Tamara Lave, a law professor at the University of Miami School of Law, took an opposing view, praising the ruling as ‘fantastic.’
‘Whatever you think about whether he did or didn’t do it, everybody should rejoice in the decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court,’ Lave told DailyMail.com in an interview, slamming Cosby’s prosecutors for ‘shocking behavior.’
‘They prosecuted the Constand case using statements Cosby made because a prior prosecutor set it up so he couldn’t invoke his 5th Amendment rights, and then bring in this parade of character witnesses,’ she said.
Lave questioned the propriety of using ‘prior bad acts’ witnesses at trial, a controversial practice that is normally barred under the rules of evidence, but has gained popularity in sexual assault cases under certain exemptions.
‘In my opinion, it’s very problematic evidence that deprives people of a right to a fair trial,’ Lave said of the use of character witnesses.