Harvey Weinstein Convicted of Rape and a Criminal Sexual Act

The Hollywood mogul, acquitted of the most serious charges, still faces up to 25 years in prison

A jury found Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein guilty of third degree rape and a criminal sexual act, two of five counts against him,  Monday morning. He now faces up to 25 years in prison.

The jury, which began deliberating last Tuesday, acquitted him of the two predatory sexual assault charges and a first degree rape charge. The predatory sexual assault charges were the most serious the media mogul faced carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison. The trial began six weeks ago and deliberations lasted five days before the verdict was announced.

On Friday afternoon, the jury sent a note asking the judge if it could remain split on the top two counts while reaching a unanimous decision on the lower three. They reconvened Monday morning before ultimately announcing the verdict – guilty of rape in the third degree against Jessica Mann and criminal sexual act in the first degree against Miriam Haley after forcing her to have oral sex with him in 2006. Both verdicts are considered class B felonies, carrying a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 25.

In her testimony, Haley said that she repeatedly told the former producer “no” when he made a move on her. Weinstein, she said, pinned her to the bed when he forced himself on her.

On Twitter, many celebrated what they saw as a victory for the #MeToo movement. Allegations against Weinstein, widely considered an open secret in Hollywood, were reported on in 2017.

Ronan Farrow, who broke the story for the New Yorker, said that “today’s outcome in Harvey Weinstein’s New York trial is the result of the decisions of multiple women to come forward to journalists and to prosecutors at great personal cost and risk.”

Times Up president and CEO Tina Tchen also issued a statement Monday afternoon.

“This trial — and the jury’s decision today — marks a new era of justice,” Tchen said. “Not just for the Silence Breakers, who spoke out at great personal risk, but for all survivors of harassment, abuse, and assault at work,”

She added that the movement was grateful to the testimony of survivors and their bravery for facing Weinstein and his lawyers in court.

“The jury’s verdict sends a powerful message to the world of just how much progress has been made since the Weinstein Silence Breakers ignited an unstoppable movement.” Tchen said.

Gretchen Carlson, a former journalist with Fox Networks who had accused CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment, tweeted “Hopefully the judge will give him the max. Up to 25 years. And he will be remanded to prison now. Thank you to all women who had the bravery to come forward!! #WeinsteinTrial #forallwomen #metoo.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that the media mogul, surrounded by court officers, stared straight ahead as the verdict was read. CBS said that as Weinstein was waiting, he kept whispering “I’m innocent. I’m innocent.” Weinstein was remanded immediately afterwards and will be sentenced on March 11.

Weinstein’s legal team spoke with reporters as they left the courthouse, their client handcuffed and behind bars. Donna Rotunno, the lead defense lawyer who was flanked by Damon Cheronis and Arthur Aidala, said they absolutely would be appealing the decision, citing potential jury bias. She said the defense started the trial “down 35 to nothing” because they couldn’t find a potential juror who hadn’t heard of the media mogul or knew nothing about the case.

“The fight is not over,” Rotunno said. “It is absolutely horrible to watch my client being taken into custody. We don’t feel good about that at all.”

Reporters asked how Weinstein was doing also said that Weinstein was very strong and took it like a man.

Drama between the Weinstein’s lawyers and Gloria Allred, an attorney who represents three of his accusers, had been simmering in the courtroom for weeks and spilled out in front of the courthouse on Monday.

Allred, who represents Haley, was holding a press conference when Weinstein’s lawyer Rotunno came down the steps.

Gloria Allred leaves the courthouse last Tuesday afternoon. Allred represents several of Weinstein’s accusers. / Photo by Caroline Chen for NY City Lens

According to Variety reporter Elizabeth Wagmeister, Rotunno told reporters listening to Allred that they had a choice to make. “#HarveyWeinstein’s defense team just came out to do a press conference & Gloria Allred was standing outside for her press conference, too,” Wagmeister tweeted. “Harvey’s attorney said to reporters, “You have a choice” whether to listen to Gloria or us. Gloria wouldn’t move. Harvey’s legal team left.”

Allred continued answering questions, saying that Weinstein and his lawyers shouldn’t have been shocked by the verdict. “You cannot intimidate women anymore,” she said. Allred added that her client, Miriam Haley, would have a chance to read a victim impact statement in March if she chooses to attend.

Allred also addressed Annabella Sciorra, the Sopranos’ actress, calling her one of the bravest women she knew. Sciorra testified against Weinstein that he raped her in the early 1990s. Her allegations, which were far past the statute of limitations, were part of the predatory sexual assault charges that the jury ultimately acquitted him on.

“She sacrificed so much and invested so much time, just for the cause of justice,” Allred said. “She didn’t have to do it. She did do it.”

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. spoke with reporters afterwards, thanking the jurors because “their verdict turned the page in the justice system.” He also listed the names of the eight women – the two prosecutors and the six accusers who testified – and applauded them for their bravery.

“They pulled our justice system into the 21st century by declaring that rape is rape and sexual assault is sexual assault no matter what.” Vance said. “Harvey Weinstein has finally been held accountable for crimes he committed. The women who courageously came forward made that happen. Weinstein is a vicious serial predator.”

Weinstein faces up to 25 years in prison for the charges in New York, but also faces four counts of rape and sexual battery charges in Los Angeles. When the charges in California were announced in late January, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said that Weinstein could face up to 28 years in prison.

“We believe the evidence will show that the defendant used his power and influence to gain access to his victims and then commit violent crimes against them,” Lacey said.

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