Weinstein energised about appeal, says lawyer

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Harvey Weinstein was “upbeat” and “energised” about appealing against his sexual assault and rape conviction, one of his lawyers said Tuesday, as one of his accusers said the verdict made her feel grateful to be “heard and believed”.

Weinstein remained in a jail unit at Bellevue Hospital in New York, where he was taken after the verdict on Monday to be checked out for heart palpitations and high blood pressure.

Lawyer Arthur Aidala on Tuesday called it “a precautionary measure to take him here and make sure his vitals and everything were OK”, and said it was not clear how long Weinstein would be at Bellevue.

After Monday’s verdict, he had been destined for jail to await sentencing, set for March 11.

In the meantime, Weinstein greeted his lawyer, unhandcuffed, in a large hospital room with jail officers outside and was looking forward to visitors, Mr Aidala said.

Mimi Haleyi
Mimi Haleyi arrives to testify in Harvey Weinstein’s trial (Mark Lennihan/AP)

He said the 67-year-old former Hollywood studio boss was insisting on his innocence and was “somewhat flabbergasted by the verdict”, but determined to fight on.

“There is a portion of him where he’s just scratching his head and he doesn’t know how this happened, but he’s cautiously optimistic” about prevailing on appeal, Mr Aidala said.

His remarks came after Mimi Haleyi, a former production assistant who accused Weinstein of forcing oral sex on her in 2006, called the verdict “a huge relief”.

“I just think that we’re being educated about the reality of sexual assault and sexual assault victims,” Ms Haleyi said on CBS This Morning.

“It’s not always just a stranger. It’s very often somebody that the person knows, and with that comes an entire other layer of processing,” she said.

“Whatever the verdict had been, it wouldn’t have changed what happened to me, but obviously it was terrifying to think that I wouldn’t be believed,” she added later on MSNBC.

Actress Rosanna Arquette
Actress Rosanna Arquette speaks at a news conference by the Silence Breakers, a group of women who have spoken out about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Weinstein has maintained that any sex between him and his accusers was consensual.

Asked about Weinstein on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump called the disgraced producer’s conviction a “great victory” for women that “sends a very strong message”.

“He was a person I didn’t like,” Mr Trump told reporters during a news conference in India.

“The people that liked him were the Democrats. Michelle Obama loved him. Loved him. Hillary Clinton loved him.”

Mr Trump himself stands accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women when he was a private citizen. He has denied the allegations and has not been charged.

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