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Albany lawmakers pitch fix to undo Harvey Weinstein decision fallout

Harvey Weinstein is inflicting a retake on intercourse crimes legal guidelines in Albany.

Lawmakers are racing to replace trial procedures for accused perverts, after New York’s highest courtroom threw out the disgraced film mogul’s 2020 intercourse crimes conviction final month on a technicality.

A bunch of legislators joined with a few of Weinstein’s alleged victims Thursday to tout laws that might shut the loophole and permit victims to converse out freely in courtroom.

“When there are multiple victims of sexual assault, their voices should be heard together and collectively,” stated Tarale Wulff, who was one of many alleged victims of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct who testified at his trial, although he wasn’t truly charged with attacking her.

“Sexual assault survivors who come forward are rarely the only victims of their accusers.”

The courtroom dominated 4-3 final month that it was unfair to enable alleged victims like Wullf — the so-called Molineux witnesses — to testify in intercourse trials as a result of their claims weren’t truly a part of the legal criticism.

The ruling gutted the usage of Molineux witnesses within the state. But legislators stated their testimony is essential in prosecuting intercourse crimes and vowed Thursday to move laws bringing them again.

“In sexual assault cases, which typically rely on the testimony of the survivor, it is essential,” stated Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Westchester), one of many invoice’s sponsors in her chamber.

“It allows a perpetrator’s pattern of behavior to be presented in court. It allows consent defenses, which are most often the defenses used in relationship sexual assault cases, to be effectively refuted.”

Paulin spoke alongside Wulff and fellow Weinstein Molineux accuser Ambra Gutierrez — in addition to Sara Ziff who sued the previous head of Miramax in Italy, Fabrizio Lombardo, for sexual assault aided by the Adult Survivors Act. 

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) stated he was sponsoring a model of the Senate invoice legalizing the usage of Molineux witnesses.

“Very often, [these] cases rely on the testimony of two people with conflicting accounts and therefore we think this justifies an exception to show a pattern of behavior . . . So we are introducing this legislation, hopefully, we get it passed before the session adjourns in a month,” he stated at a press convention hosted on the headquarters of the National Organization for Women.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris says he hopes to move the invoice earlier than the top of Albany’s legislative session subsequent month. Paul Martinka
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin sponsors the laws within the legislature’s decrease chamber. Richard Harbus

Paulin stated the significance of the witnesses was seen within the Weinstein case.

“In the Weinstein case, the women were able to testify he used professional advancement as a way to put them in a compromised position, that Harvey Weinstein typically used force to overpower his victims and many if not several had prior consensual acts prior,” she stated.

Judge Jenny Rivera, who wrote the opinion, argued that the Molineux testimony solely served to paint Weinstein in a adverse gentle to the jury. Rivera was joined by lefty Chief Judge Rowan Wilson within the opinion.

The invoice in response to the ruling would implement language nearly mirroring federal pointers on proof, bringing New York consistent with over a dozen different states.

Gianaris, who’s the quantity two in Senate Democratic management, stated he hopes to get the invoice handed earlier than the top of the legislative session in a couple of weeks. 

Rowan Wilson
Chief Judge Rowan Wilson sided within the opinion penned by Judge Jenny Rivera. AP
Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein will get a re-trial in his conviction of intercourse expenses. He stays in jail as he awaits extradition to California the place he faces years of jail time for convictions there. AP

“Hopefully we will get quick progress on this before we adjourn in June,” Gianaris stated.

Lawmakers have been scrambling to make a legislative fix for the reason that Weinstein ruling dropped, because the Post first reported two weeks in the past.

“I’m glad that the new legislation by Senator Gianaris and Assembly Member Paulin will allow more survivors of sexual abuse to come forward and help keep creeps like Harvey Weinstein from using their power and influence to prey on victims,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D-Manhattan) informed the Post.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester) stated she’s open to contemplating a legislative fix, when requested by the Post earlier this week.

“Obviously if there is some loophole or something that could make the case stronger, we would obviously be interested in looking at that,” Stewart-Cousins stated.

Any push to rectify Molineux might also obtain Republican backing. State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-Suffolk), Republicans’ lead on the Senate Judiciary Committee, stated he’s been placing collectively his personal laws which may be very comparable to the Democrats’ invoice.

“Assemblywoman Amy Paulin’s sponsorship of a similar bill reflects the bipartisan support to correct this outrageous decision,” he informed the Post. 

Speaking at an unrelated occasion Thursday, Gov. Kathy Hochul failed to give a transparent response to the Weinstein ruling, although she stated her authorized workforce is reviewing Paulin and Gianaris’ laws.

“Every woman has the right to be heard in the courtroom with the appropriate witnesses. We are still examining that law,” Hochul stated.

Wulff stated she believes that one thing shall be executed to assist future victims.

“Honestly, after the shock of learning the conviction being overturned, I immediately started chasing a silver lining,” Wulff stated  

“I thought there has to be a reason why this is happening to us. If that megaphone is on us, then this is the opportunity we have right now to make a change.”

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