Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty on Rape and Sex Assault Charges
A New York City jury reached a verdict in the trial of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who faced charges of multiple sex crimes including rape that hinged on accusations by two women who said Weinstein assaulted them on separate occasions in 2006 and 2013.
On Monday, the jury found Weinstein guilty of criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree, the New York Times reports. He was acquitted on three other charges.
Although more than 80 women have claimed they were victimized by Weinstein, according to The New York Times, the charges in the Manhattan trial were focused on only two women: former production assistant Miriam “Mimi” Haleyi and aspiring actress Jessica Mann.
Another four whose alleged incidents occurred outside the reach or time frame to bring charges in New York were put on the stand by prosecutors who hoped the women’s experiences would illustrate a pattern of predatory behavior by Weinstein.
The verdict, reached Monday morning by a jury of five women and seven men in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, means Weinstein could be sent to prison when he is sentenced at a later date.
Weinstein, 67, a producer behind 20 best-picture Oscar nominees — his five winners in the category include Shakespeare in Love, Chicago and The King’s Speech — had fiercely denied the allegations, countering that his sexual encounters with the two accusers in the New York case were consensual.
Weinstein’s prosecution followed two investigations published separately in October 2017 by the Times and The New Yorker magazine that propelled the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements against sexual assault in the entertainment industry and other workplaces.
Weinstein specifically was charged with two counts of rape, one count of criminal sexual act and two counts of predatory sexual assault. The jury found Weinstein guilty on two counts of criminal sexual assault, but not guilty on three others, including predatory sexual assault.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Weinstein’s lawyers, Donna Rotunno and Damon Cheronis, said, “While he was not convicted on the most serious charges, we are disappointed in the verdict and will be filing an appeal. There are issues in this trial that were extremely troubling, and they prejudiced Mr. Weinstein’s ability to have his case fairly judged.”
“…In the meantime, we are working on assuring that Mr. Weinstein is brought to Rikers’ Island ‘s North infirmary unit (NIU) at the Anna M Kross center complex or in protective custody so that he can get the best medical supervision and care possible.”
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The high stakes were obvious for Weinstein’s accusers, who have sought validation both inside and outside the courtroom. In May 2019, an attorney announced a $44 million settlement that would see Weinstein compensate women who have sued him for alleged sexual misconduct while settling a pending civil-rights lawsuit by the New York State Attorney General’s Office, reported the Los Angeles Times.
Ahead of the New York trial, 25 women — not including those whose accusations were presented in court — issued a statement saying the trial was “critical to show that predators everywhere will be held accountable,” according to The Washington Post.
“Thanks to the courage of so many women who risked everything to come forward — this ugly facade came down and [Weinstein] finally faced a public and professional reckoning for his actions,” said the statement.
Even as the New York trial began, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on January 6 unsealed new charges there, accusing Weinstein of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013. He has not yet entered a plea to those allegations, which carry a separate penalty of 28 years in state prison if he is later convicted on those California charges.
Weinstein’s fall from grace was rapid.
First, reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey published an article in The New York Times in which eight women, including the actress Ashley Judd, accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault. Days later The New Yorker published an additional exposé written by Ronan Farrow that included 13 women’s accounts of alleged sexual harassment and assault or rape at the mogul’s hands.