Aug. 24 (UPI) — Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was granted the opportunity to appeal his 2020 rape conviction by New York’s highest-level appellate court Wednesday.
Janet DiFiore, chief judge of the State Court of Appeals, issued the ruling which clears the way for oral arguments later this year, a court spokesperson told NBC News.
Arthur Aidala, Weinstein’s attorney, said his client was grateful for the decision which “acknowledged the unique legal issues in this case.”
“We are hopeful the entire court will find that Mr. Weinstein did not receive a fair trial and reverse his conviction,” Aidala said.
Weinstein, 70, maintained his innocence in a statement to ABC News Wednesday.
“I am innocent of these charges, and I am so grateful to my attorneys for working hard and smart of this. Their hard work will help me prove my innocence in the end. I look forward to this opportunity to be heard by the New York Court of Appeals,” he said.
Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison in March 2020 after he was convicted of a criminal sexual act and third-degree rape stemming from two cases, in 2006 and 2013, involving two women.
More than 80 women accused Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment with multiple testifying at his trial.
He is currently being held in a jail in Los Angeles where he faces similar charges.
Weinstein’s attorneys have argued that the trial was improper and that a juror who wrote a novel about “predatory older men” should have been disqualified.
In June, The Appellate Division’s First Department upheld Weinstein’s conviction following an appeal, saying the court perceived “no basis for reducing the sentence.”
The full court can either affirm the lower court’s decision, reverse the decision and vacate his conviction, order a new trial or modify his conviction by upholding some charges while vacating others.
Douglas Wigdor, an attorney who represented eight Weinstein victims, including two at the New York criminal trial said he believed the appeal would be rejected.
“Weinstein is a desperate man but we are confident that New York’s highest court will ultimately reject his appeal … affirming the trial court’s conviction and sentence,” he said.