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Harvey Weinstein Is Appealing 2020 Rape Conviction. New York’s Top Court To Hear Arguments

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NEW YORK — Nearly four years after Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape and sentenced to prison, New York’s top court will hear arguments Wednesday in his bid to reverse the landmark #MeToo verdict.

Weinstein’s lawyers are requesting that the state’s Court of Appeals in Albany overturn the disgraced movie mogul’s 2020 conviction, alleging that the judge violated his right to a fair trial by “succumbing to the pressure” of America’s reckoning with sexual misbehaviour perpetrated by powerful persons.

The judge, James Burke, accepted testimony from three women whose allegations were not part of the prosecution and ordered that prosecutors might question Weinstein about other unconnected misbehaviour if he testified, which he refused to do.

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Harvey Weinstein Is Appealing 2020 Rape Conviction. New York’s Top Court To Hear Arguments

“What we’re arguing is that there should not be a different set of rules for an individual in society who becomes vilified,” Weinstein’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala, explained. There is no such thing as “the Weinstein rule that just applies to that little sliver of society that everyone decides to really hate,” that’s what he stated.

Weinstein, 71, was convicted on February 24, 2020, of a criminal sex act for forcibly performing oral sex on a TV and film production assistant in 2006, as well as third-degree rape for an attack on an aspiring actress in 2013. He was sentenced to 23 years in jail and is currently housed at the Mohawk Correctional Facility, a state prison about 100 miles (161 kilometres) northwest of Albany.

At the same Manhattan trial, Weinstein was found not guilty of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault stemming from actor Annabella Sciorra’s allegations of rape in the mid-1990s. The Associated Press does not usually identify persons who allege sexual assault unless they agree to be named; Sciorra has spoken publicly about her allegations.

Last year, Weinstein was convicted in Los Angeles of raping and sexually abusing an Italian actor and model who claimed he showed up unannounced at her hotel room door at a film festival in 2013. In that case, he was sentenced to an extra 16 years in prison, so even if the Court of Appeals ruled in his favour, he would remain incarcerated.

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Harvey Weinstein Is Appealing 2020 Rape Conviction. New York’s Top Court To Hear Arguments

Weinstein maintains his innocence. He claims all sexual interaction was consensual. He is not anticipated to attend Wednesday’s hearings, just for the New York case, but he may watch the court’s webcast from prison. The court is unlikely to rule immediately.

The New York Court of Appeals agreed last year to hear Weinstein’s case after an intermediate appellate court upheld his conviction. Weinstein’s attorneys seek a second trial, but just for the criminal sexual act charge. They contend that the rape accusation cannot be retried since the alleged activity occurred outside of the statute of limitations.

Allegations against Weinstein, the once-powerful and feared studio leader behind Oscar triumphs like “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love,” sparked the #MeToo movement. His trial in New York received widespread attention, with protesters yelling “rapist” outside the courthouse.

Weinstein’s attorneys stated in their appeal that Burke impacted the trial’s outcome by repeatedly ruling in favour of prosecutors, including decisions that “overwhelmed” the trial with “excessive, random, and highly dubious prior bad act evidence.” Burke’s term ended at the end of 2022. He was not reappointed and hence no longer serves as a judge.

If Weinstein had testified, Burke decided that prosecutors might have questioned him on more than two dozen alleged incidents of boorish behaviour over 30 years, including whether he had stranded a colleague in a foreign country or yelled at restaurant staff while demanding a late-night lunch.

Weinstein’s lawyers claimed Burke’s findings went beyond what is generally permitted — identifying motive, opportunity, intent, or a common strategy or plan — and effectively put the former studio boss on trial for crimes he was not charged with and had no opportunity to defend himself against. That evidence would have “only served to make the jury hate Weinstein,” his lawyers claimed.

The rules for calling witnesses to testify and permitting prosecutors to introduce evidence about “prior bad acts” and the actual accusations differ by state. New York’s rules are among the strictest.

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Harvey Weinstein Is Appealing 2020 Rape Conviction. New York’s Top Court To Hear Arguments

They also questioned Burke’s refusal to remove a jury who had written a novel about predatory older men, as well as his choice to allow prosecutors to speak on victim behaviour and rape myths while rejecting defence expert testimony on the same topics.

In 2022, a five-judge panel in New York’s intermediate appellate court concluded unanimously that Burke had “providently exercised” his discretion despite the fact that some of the justices had previously expressed concerns about his actions. During oral arguments, Judge Sallie Manzanet-Daniels stated that Burke had allowed prosecutors to pile on “incredibly prejudicial testimony” from other witnesses.

Aidala has asked the Court of Appeals to remind the state’s trial courts “that a defendant cannot be tried based on his character — but must be tried based on the conduct for which he has been accused.”

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Dickey Betts, Co-Founder Of The Allman Brothers Band, Dead At 80

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Dickey Betts, a guitarist and co-founder of the Allman Brothers Band, has died, according to a family statement released to CNN on Thursday by his longtime manager.

Betts was eighty.

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Dickey Betts, Co-Founder Of The Allman Brothers Band, Dead At 80

“It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that the Betts family announces the peaceful passing of Forrest Richard ‘Dickey’ Betts,” according to the statement. “The well-known performer, songwriter, bandleader, and family patriarch passed away this morning at his home in Osprey, Florida, with his family by his side. Dickey was larger than life, and his absence will be felt around the world. During this terrible time, the family requests prayers and respect for their privacy in the coming days. More information will be provided at the proper time.”

Betts’ manager, David Spero, told Rolling Stone that the guitarist had cancer and chronic obstructive lung disease.

Betts, who was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, grew up listening to bluegrass, country music, and, subsequently, rock & roll. Betts, bass guitarist Berry Oakley, drummers Butch Trucks and Jaimoe, and brothers Gregg and Duane Allman formed the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, and are credited with helping create the sound and genre of Southern rock in the 1960s and 1970s.

Betts composed and sung the band’s biggest song, “Ramblin’ Man.” Initially, he created the song with the intention of having another artist sing it.

“I was going to send ‘Ramblin’ Man’ to Johnny Cash,” Betts stated in 2020, later adding that he “thought it was a great song for him.”

“But everyone liked the song. Even my father enjoyed the song before we recorded it or anything. And I’m thinking I’ll email this to Johnny Cash and see if he wants to perform it,” he added. “The producer (Johnny Sandlin) mentioned that we needed another song for the record and asked if I had any. I explained, ‘Well, I got one, but I was going to send it to Nashville for Cash to record.’ He said, ‘Let’s hear it. And then, ‘No! We gotta do it.'”

Betts also wrote the popular Allman Brothers songs “Blue Sky” and “Jessica.”

Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident in 1971, and Oakley died in a motorcycle crash the following year. Betts and Gregg Allman became the band’s leaders, but creative disputes and substance misuse prompted the group to split up and reform several times.

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Dickey Betts, Co-Founder Of The Allman Brothers Band, Dead At 80

Cameron Crowe, then 16, followed the Allman Brothers Band on tour in 1973 for a Rolling Stone cover story that would later serve as the basis for Crowe’s Oscar-winning 2000 film “Almost Famous.” In 2017, Crowe described Billy Crudup’s key rock star character as “a tribute” to Betts.

In an email to CNN later that day, Crowe referred to Betts as “a guitarist for the ages, the musical glue that held together The Allman Brothers Band for many years.”

“Dickey’s quiet warmth, and his timeless contribution to American music was a big inspiration for our film,” said the writer-director.

Betts quit the Allman Brothers Band in a widely publicized separation in 2000. While the band continued to tour for nearly 15 years and issued one more studio album, Betts performed with his Great Southern ensemble, which included his son Duane, and released another studio album of new songs. Betts retired in 2014.

Also on Friday, the Allman Brothers Band issued an official statement, stating that Betts’ “extraordinary guitar playing alongside guitarist Duane Allman created a unique dual guitar signature sound that became the signature sound of the genre known as Southern Rock.”

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Dickey Betts, Co-Founder Of The Allman Brothers Band, Dead At 80

“He was passionate in life, be it music, songwriting, fishing, hunting, boating, golf, karate or boxing,” the statement went on to say. “Dickey was all in on and excelled at anything that caught his attention.”

When asked what he enjoyed most about music, Betts told the Sarasota Herald Tribune in 2020 that it was the impact it had on his listeners.

“I like the crowds mainly, and what the music did for them,” he went on to say. “They enjoyed the music more than I did. I just love how the crowd can drift off into another universe during a concert.”

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Taylor Swift Drops 15 New Songs On Double Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology’

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NEW YORK — Could there be a Taylor Swift new album release without any added surprises?

No.

On Friday, the pop star released her 11th album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” which is an amalgamation of her previous work and reflects the artist who, at the height of her powers, has spent the last few years re-recording her life’s work and touring it, filtered through synth-pop anthems, breakup ballads, provocative and matured considerations.

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Taylor Swift Drops 15 New Songs On Double Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology’

But it was midnight. At 2 a.m. Eastern, she released “The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology,” which included 15 new songs.

“I’d written so much tortured poetry in the past 2 years and wanted to share it all with you, so here’s the second installment,” Swift wrote in an Instagram caption. “And now the story isn’t mine anymore… it’s all yours.”

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Taylor Swift Drops 15 New Songs On Double Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology’

The songs are a natural continuation of the first half of the album, with many returning to her “evermore” and “folklore” style, aided by her partner Aaron Dessner.

Swift has surprised her fans before, and she has surely done so with a surprise album release. A few months after “folklore” was released in 2020, she revealed that “evermore” will be available at midnight on the same day. Speaking of midnight, she released a “3am” edition of “Midnights” with seven new tracks in 2022, just a few hours after the original release.

Taylor Swift’s album “The Tortured Poets Department” is now available.

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Taylor Swift Drops 15 New Songs On Double Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology’

Music Writer Maria Sherman describes it as “an amalgamation of an artist who has spent the last few years re-recording her life’s work and touring its material, filtered through synth-pop anthems, breakup ballads, provocative and matured subject matter.”

Swift revealed a surprise two hours after the album’s release: 15 more tracks.

Swift’s first original album since her record-breaking Eras Tour debuted last year.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Britain’s Prince Harry Formally Confirms He is Now a US Resident

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LONDON — Prince Harry, King Charles III’s son and fifth in line to the British throne, has publicly certified that he is now a US resident.

Four years after Harry and his American bride, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, moved to a villa in Southern California, a travel firm he owns filed paperwork this week alerting British officials that he has relocated and is now “usually resident” in the United States.

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Britain’s Prince Harry formally confirms he is now a US resident

The formal acknowledgment highlights the prince’s growing isolation from Britain, following his and Meghan’s departure from royal duties to chase lucrative media partnerships in America. Since then, Harry has often challenged the royal family, including claims of unconscious racism made in a Netflix series and the prince’s autobiography, “Spare.”

Travalyst Ltd, a company created in 2020 to “promote global awareness of the importance of sustainable tourism,” filed the paperwork. Harry owns at least 75% of the company. Companies House, the government body in charge of overseeing company incorporation in the United Kingdom, received the papers on Monday.

The filing further distinguishes Harry from his status as one of the king’s counselors of state, which are members of the royal family who can be deputized to carry out the monarch’s duties if he is ill or away from the nation.

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Britain’s Prince Harry formally confirms he is now a US resident

While Harry is still a counselor of state, the crown warned Parliament in 2022 that “in practice” only working members of the royal family will be called upon to fill in for the monarch.

Although Harry and Meghan, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have established themselves in the rich enclave of Montecito, where they are raising their baby son and daughter, Harry is also under investigation for his US status.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think organization, has questioned the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to grant Harry a visa to the United States following drug-related admissions in “Spare.”

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Britain’s Prince Harry formally confirms he is now a US resident

The organization, which has petitioned a judge to order the department to release Harry’s immigration records, claims that the prince either lied on his visa application or was given preferential treatment because a history of drug usage would typically preclude an applicant from receiving a visa.

SOURCE – (AP)

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