After his second conviction, Harvey Weinstein has hired a new legal team to handle his Los Angeles appeal, after he was found guilty by a jury of sexual assault and rape with a judge sentencing him to 16 years.
Weinstein has hired California-based attorney Michael Freedman, who will work alongside Jennifer Bonjean, the criminal defense attorney who got Bill Cosby’s conviction overturned, and will act as Weinstein’s lead counsel for his West Coast appeal.
Bonjean has become known for defending some of the most high-profile men accused throughout the #MeToo movement. In addition to representing Cosby on his appeal before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which resulted him being freed from prison, she was R. Kelly’s lead attorney during his criminal trial in Chicago. She also represented Nxivm sex cult leader Keith Raniere.
Bonjean’s firm’s website says she “works tirelessly to reverse the convictions of innocent people wrongly incarcerated.” She has the words “not guilty” tattooed on her arm.
Weinstein’s new legal team will also represent Weinstein in his civil case against Jane Doe #1, a European model, who after the trial, publicly revealed her identity as Evgeniya Chernyshova. Her testimony, where she alleged that Weinstein raped and sexually assaulted her in 2013, led to Weinstein’s conviction in Los Angeles. After the trial, Chernyshova filed a civil suit against Weinstein for rape, seeking compensation for physical and mental pain and suffering, loss of earnings, and the cost of medical and psychological treatment.
“The Bonjean Law Group and Jennifer Bonjean herself understand the issues facing Harvey and knows what is needed; not simply the law, but the environment in which we exist now,” Weinstein’s spokesperson, Juda Engelmayer, says to Variety in a statement. “With this team, Harvey’s appeal in L.A. will be made in a way that not only demonstrates errors in applications of law and possible bias in meting out so-called justice, but will also expose how the proverbial deck was stacked in advance against Weinstein. In addition to the criminal appeal, the firm will bring the facts together in answers to the civil suit filed by a witness whom Harvey insists was never with him in the hotel or anywhere.”
Weinstein was recently moved back to New York in early April, after the completion of his Los Angeles trial. The judge in Los Angeles ordered Weinstein to serve both sentences consecutively, so if he serves the full prison terms in both jurisdictions, he would not be free until 2059 — that is, if he lived until he was 107 years old.
In addition to his L.A. appeal, Weinstein is also currently appealing his conviction in New York where he was sentenced to 23 years in 2020. The highest court in the state of New York agreed to hear his case.
Weinstein is now serving his East Coast prison sentence at Mohawk Correctional Facility in the city of Rome, N.Y., which is a medium security state prison for men. He had been in L.A. County Jail since July 2021 when he was extradited to the West Coast, but prior to his L.A. trial, he was housed at the Wende Correctional Facility in upstate New York, which was maximum security.
Throughout his Los Angeles trial, Weinstein was represented by defense attorneys Mark Werksman and Alan Jackson, who will not work with Weinstein on his appeal.
His new legal team is comprised of Freedman of The Freedman Firm, based in Santa Monica, Calif., as well as Bonjean and Ashley Cohen from The Bonjean Law Group, which is based in New York City.