Entertainment And News

Harvey Weinstein Is Using A Legal Strategy Similar To Bill Cosby's — Could He Get Out Of Jail Too?

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Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby

Convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein is pleading not guilty to 11 additional sexual assault charges in California.

After being extradited from his New York prison, the disgraced movie producer appeared before a Los Angeles court to face counts that include multiple rapes, sexual battery, and forced oral copulation against five women between 2004 and 2013.

Weinstein’s lawyers also filed an appeal earlier this year to request a new trial for his previous charges.

In the era of #MeToo, Weinstein’s case has many parallels to that of Bill Cosby, whose sexual assault convictions were overturned last month. With the similarities comes the concern that Weinstein could still walk as a free man if his appeals are successful.

What does Bill Cosby’s release mean for Harvey Weinstein?

Though Weinstein and Cosby were once two meaningful examples of justice served in the #MeToo movement, Cosby’s release may have caused some faith in our legal system to waiver.

Here is how Weinstein’s lawyers have used similar tactics to Cosby’s team to petition for his release.

RELATED: Bill Cosby’s Release Doesn’t Mean He's Innocent — Why We Should Still Believe His Victims

Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein appealed convictions on similar grounds.

In their appeal, Weinstein’s lawyers argued that his judge should never had heard from “prior bad acts” witnesses — these are witnesses who testified about other uncharged allegations that were not related to those leveled against Weinstein.

Cosby’s appeal also mentioned a similar argument as his trial featured accounts from several other witnesses who claimed to have been drugged and assaulted by him.

However, the rules surrounding “prior bad acts” testimony differ from state to state. Cosby’s release occurred in Pennsylvania while Weinstein’s appeal will be reviewed in New York.

There are some differences between Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein’s appeals.

Cosby’s conviction was also appealed on another issue that Weinstein does not have in his favor.

In overturning his conviction, Pennsylvania's highest court cited a non-prosecution agreement Cosby had with a previous prosecutor in a civil case for the same crimes.

A decade prior to his criminal prosecution, Cosby had agreed to sit for the civil case on the condition that no criminal prosecution could be taken in future.

That evidence was later used against him, which the court ruled was a violation of his right to due process.

RELATED: Why James Franco Will Pay $2.2 Million Settlement For Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit: Details Of Claims Against Him

As Weinstein has never claimed to have such an agreement, his conviction cannot be overturned on these grounds.

Cosby’s belief that he had been granted immunity is a somewhat unusual fact of his case that allowed him to walk free.

It seems unlikely that Weinstein will have the same fate.

Weinstein’s lawyers were encouraged by Cosby’s release.

Weinstein’s representatives believe that Cosby’s overturned conviction creates an avenue for their client’s release.

“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,” Weinstein’s attorneys said in a statement following Cosby’s release.

“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.

RELATED: What Bill Cosby’s Release Means For The #MeToo Movement And Survivors Of Trauma

Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Keep up with her Twitter for more.