Harvey Weinstein found guilty of rape and sexual act in MeToo trial

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Film mogul Harvey Weinsten was found guilty Monday of rape and committing a criminal sexual act more than two years after news articles about his alleged serial sexual abuse of women ignited the MeToo movement.

But Weinstein, 67, was found not guilty in Manhattan state court of the most serious charges: two counts of predatory sexual assault for which he could have been sentenced to life in prison.

He also was acquitted of first-degree rape.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for nearly 27 hours over five days.

Weinstein was surrounded by court officers during the reading of the verdict, keeping a stoic look on his face as each verdict was announced.

Weinstein, who had been free on bond during the trial, was handcuffed and ordered held without bail pending his March 11 sentencing by Judge James Burke.

“Weinstein is a vicious, serial sexual predator who used his power to threaten, rape, assault, trick, humiliate and silence his victims,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who was in the courtroom for the verdict.

“These women were not just brave, they were heroic,” Vance said of the accusers. 

Scores of other women in the past several years have publicly claimed Weinstein abused them.

“As sure as I am bald, we will be appealing this,” said Weinstein’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala.

Weinstein faces a sentence of five to 25 years in prison for his conviction on a charge of committing a first-degree criminal sexual act by forcibly performing oral sex on production assistant Mimi Haley in 2006.

A charge of third-degree rape that Weinstein was convicted of relates to the claim that he attacked aspiring actress Jessica Mann in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013. That charge has a maximum possible sentence of four years.

Weinstein also faces criminal charges in Los Angeles, where prosecutors last month accused him of raping one woman and sexually assaulting a second woman over a two-day period in 2013.

“While it is disappointing that today’s outcome does not deliver the true, full justice that so many women deserve, Harvey Weinstein will now forever be known as a convicted serial predator,” said a statement by a group of women who have accused him of sexual abuse.

“This conviction would not be possible without the testimony of the courageous women and the many women who have spoken out,” said the group, which calls itself the Silence Breakers.

“Despite intimidation from Weinstein’s legal team, they courageously shared their stories with the jury, the courtroom and the world. This has been a flawed process from the beginning but has further exposed the difficulties women face in coming forward to tell the truth about powerful abusers.”

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein (R) enters New York City Criminal Court on February 24, 2020 in New York City.

Scott Heins | Getty Images

On Friday afternoon, jurors were told by the judge to keep deliberating after they suggested in a note they couldn’t agree on the most serious charges: predatory sexual assault.

Jurors had told Burke in a note, “We the jury request to understand if we can be hung on 1 and or 3 but unanimous on the others.”

Counts 1 and 3 were charges of predatory sexual assault, which related to allegations by Mann and Haley.

Count 2 was criminal sexual act in the first degree, count 4 was rape in the first degree, and count 5 was third-degree rape.

After their note, Burke instructed the jurors that any verdict that they returned must be unanimous and that if they cannot be unanimous on a specific criminal count then they cannot return a verdict for that count.

“Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra testified during the trial that Weinstein raped her in her apartment in either late 1993 or early 1994.

Her allegations were not included in the charges in the trial, but her testimony, along with that of five other women, was permitted by the judge to allow prosecutors to show a pattern of conduct by Weinstein to prove that he was guilty of predatory sexual assault against Mann and Haley.

Jurors requested read-backs of Sciorra’s testimony last week, before they indicated in their note to Burke that they were deadlocked on the top criminal counts. Weinstein’s acquittal on those counts suggests that some jurors had problems with Sciorra’s account.

Weinstein did not testify. For years, he was one of Hollywood’s powerful men, having backed a long string of financially successful and critically acclaimed movies such as “Shakespeare in Love” and “Gangs of New York.”

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