June 06, 2018 11:41 AM

For Mira Sorvino, seeing Harvey Weinstein indicted and arrested last week on multiple charges of rape and criminal sexual act was nothing but a “really good first step.”

The 50-year-old actress — who was one of the many women who came out against Weinstein in the fall, saying that the movie mogul brought her to his hotel room where he massaged her shoulders and tried to make further physical advances by chasing her around the room — got emotional speaking about the indictment on Today

“It feels like a really good first step, you know? It’s him finally facing real, real criminal consequences for his criminal behavior. And so for that, I feel gratified,” she explained. “But honestly, last weekend was a very emotional one, and I cried many times, because just seeing him brings up a lot of bad feelings.”

Sorvino added, “He’s raped many people that I love, so it’s not really a happy occasion. I think maybe there will be some celebration when he gets convicted and goes to jail. That’s when the process will be complete and when we’ll see justice really being served.”

Mira Sorvino
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Ben Brafman, Weinstein’s lawyer tells PEOPLE: “Mr. Weinstein is stunned and outraged by Mira Sorvino’s offensive claim that ‘Harvey raped people she loved,’ when she does note even identify any of the women. This is precisely the type of reckless character assassination that allows a public figure like Sorvino to make vicious allegations that are impossible to refute because she does not have the courage or integrity to name the women so that we can at least try and expose the falsity of these allegations that Mr Weinstein denies.”

The Oscar winner said that although she never shared her story publicly, she had told many of her peers. However, nobody suggested that Weinstein’s actions were criminal — and Sorvino had no idea how widespread the problem was.

“None of us compared notes. I only knew of one other person. I could not believe how many people. If we had known about each other then, we would have been…” Sorvino said, breaking down in tears as photos of Weinstein’s accusers appeared in the background.

She continued, “I think we would have found strength in numbers and we would have done something a lot sooner. But I only knew of one other person, Sophie Dix, who told me her story a little while after mine occurred. But I did try to do something about it at the time. I even spoke to somebody at Miramax about it and nothing happened, so it kind of went away and I tried to go on with my life.”

Mira Sorvino and Harvey Weinstein
Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan/Getty

Sorvino explained that when she stopped getting as many calls for roles, she just assumed she had “had too many children” or it was simply “bad luck.” However, director Peter Jackson revealed in December that the Weinstein brothers warned him that Sorvino and fellow accuser Ashley Judd were difficult to work with when he was casting Lord of the RingsBad Santa director Terry Zwigoff then made similar claims.

“It was like a thunderbolt. It was kind of crazy. I was like, ‘Oh. So, it was really this malevolent hand that changed the course of my life and my professional horizons?'” said Sorvino.

The actress added that “everything is going great” for her family now, noting that she may not have even met her husband Christopher Backus had she been cast in Lord of the Rings.

RELATED VIDEO: Paul Sorvino Threatens to Kill Harvey Weinstein Over His Daughter Mira’s Allegations

Sorvino said she is proud to be part of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, and she’s currently working on anti-sexual harassment legislation in California.

“For women and boys and girls to know their rights, all of this will have been worth it in some crazy way,” she explained. “If culture’s going to change, and less people will be sexually assaulted because of this movement—and this outcry among millions across the world—then it was all worth it.”

Harvey Weinstein
STEVEN HIRSCH/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Weinstein pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning to multiple sexual assault charges — including rape — brought against him in New York City. The criminal sex act charge is in connection with an alleged 2004 sexual assault on aspiring actress Lucia Evans, police sources previously confirmed to PEOPLE. (Evans has agreed to be publicly named).

Weinstein is scheduled to return to court on Sept. 22 for a hearing on motions in his case, according to N.Y.C. prosecutors.

His lawyer Benjamin Brafman said in a statement last week that he was not surprised by the indictment, noting that it “does not add anything to the case we did not already know.”

“Mr. Weinstein intends to … vigorously defend against these unsupported allegations that he strongly denies,” Brafman said. “We will soon formally move to dismiss the indictment and if this case actually proceeds to trial, we expect Mr. Weinstein to be acquitted.”

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