Fact-checkers confirm Michelle Obama did previously praise convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein

 April 27, 2024

Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein's 2020 rape conviction in New York was overturned on a technicality on Thursday, which provided an opportunity for some to remind everybody of how the convicted rapist and sexual abuser was previously beloved and embraced by the Democratic elite.

That includes former first lady Michelle Obama, who previously praised Weinstein as a "wonderful human being" and "good friend," as was just confirmed by the fact-checkers at Snopes.

The generally biased fact-checking site was compelled to acknowledge that a video circulating on social media of Obama praising Weinstein was not a "deep fake" video or a false attribution or made up in any way, but was legitimate and real.

Yes, Michelle Obama called Harvey Weinstein a "wonderful human being" and "good friend"

Right-leaning commentator Ian Miles Cheong posted a video on the X platform on Thursday that featured a clip of then-first lady Obama heralding Weinstein at a 2013 White House event -- a "Careers in Film Symposium" that was hosted by Obama and organized by Weinstein, per Snopes.

"I want to start by thanking Harvey Weinstein for organizing this amazing day," Obama said at the beginning of her remarks at the event that featured several other major Hollywood stars providing advice and support to students in pursuit of a career in the film industry.

"Harvey. This is possible because of Harvey. He is a wonderful human being, a good friend and just a powerhouse," she added. "And the fact that he and his team took the time to make this happen for all of you should say something not about me or about this place, but about you. Everybody -- we are here because of you."

Ironically enough, in light of the rape and sexual assault allegations that came to light later, The Hill's coverage of the event at that time noted that Weinstein, "a major bundler for President Obama," told the students during his own remarks that "I never let anybody tell me no, even the White House."

Conviction overturned on legal technicality

The Associated Press reported Thursday that the New York Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, overturned Weinstein's 2020 rape conviction, for which he is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence.

According to the court's majority, that move was necessary because "the trial court erroneously admitted testimony of uncharged, alleged prior sexual acts" and also allowed questions and comments about Weinstein's unrelated "bad behavior" that were "highly prejudicial" toward the jury and "an abuse of judicial discretion" on the part of the now-retired trial judge.

The majority further observed that defendants must only be held accountable during trial "for the crime charged and, thus, allegations of prior bad acts may not be admitted against them for the sole purpose of establishing their propensity for criminality."

That ruling followed a decision last year by the appellate court to uphold the conviction, albeit with an admonishment against the trial judge for having allowed "incredibly prejudicial testimony" from additional witnesses along with a warning against unnecessarily "destroying a defendant’s character under the guise of prosecutorial need."

Decision could impact appeal of California conviction, though New York prosecutors will retry case

The AP further reported that Weinstein's defense team was thrilled at the New York Supreme Court's decision and suggested that they will use it as part of their appeal against their client's 2022 rape conviction in California -- for which he was sentenced to 16 years in prison -- that they assert was also similarly based on testimony about uncharged behavior that was prejudicial to the jury and should have been excluded.

That said, it must be noted that Weinstein's conviction was overturned on a legal technicality and not because he has been proven innocent or otherwise exonerated, and Manhattan prosecutors have already vowed to retry the case, with at least one of Weinstein's victims making it known that she is willing to testify against him again.

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