Harvey Weinstein Guilty of Third-Degree Rape, Sexual Assault

Harvey Weinstein
New York, NY - June 5, 2018: Harvey Weinstein leaves court after not guilty plea during arraigement on rape and criminal sex act charges at State Supreme Court (Editorial credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com)

Harvey Weinstein was found guilty on Monday of performing a “criminal sexual act” and third-degree rape, but absolved of two counts of predatory sexual assault.

The jury of seven men and five women considered the charges against Weinstein for four and a half days before entering the verdict on Monday morning.

When will Harvey Weinstein get sentenced?

Justice James Burke directed Weinstein to be taken into custody. He is expected to be sentenced on March 11.

District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., cheered the verdict as signaling a “new day” for rape victims, at a press conference.

“Rape is rape, whether it’s committed by a stranger in a dark alley or by an intimate partner,” Vance said. “It’s rape whether it’s committed by an indigent person or a man of immense power, personage and privilege… Weinstein is a vicious serial sexual predator who used his power to threaten, rape, assault, trick, humiliate and silence his victims.”

Weinstein faces a total of 25 years in prison on the charge of sexually assaulting Miriam Haley at his New York City apartment on July 10, 2006. He was also convicted of third-degree rape on the charge of assaulting Jessica Mann, an aspiring actress, and hairdresser who claimed him of raping her at a Hotel in New York on March 18, 2013.

Harvey Weinstein
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The case against Harvey Weinstein:

The jury found Weinstein not guilty of the two most severe charges of predatory sexual assault, which bore a possible sentence of 10 years to life in prison. The jury also found Weinstein not guilty of the first-degree rape of Mann, meaning they thought that he raped her but did not use “forcible compulsion” to do so.

The decision indicates that the jurors did not think, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Weinstein had raped and assaulted actress Annabella Sciorra at her Gramercy Park apartment in the early 1990s.

Weinstein’s Criminal defense attorney Donna Rotunno asked that he remain out on bail before his sentencing. She said that he needed medical attention, following an ineffective operation on his back. “He is currently taking shots in his eyes so he does not go blind,” she said. Burke denied the request.

On Friday, the jurors appeared to be stuck on the two most serious charges of predatory sexual assault. They sent a note to Judge Burke. In the note, the jurors ask what would they should do if they cannot agree on the two most serious charges of rape and criminal sexual act. Judge Burke told them to keep considering the evidence and testimony.

The prosecution summoned 28 witnesses over 12 days, along with three “prior bad acts” witnesses, who told jurors that Weinstein had sexually assaulted them in his apartment and in hotel rooms in New York and Beverly Hills.

The jurors had focused in on Haley and Sciorra’s testimony. The jurors asked the court reporter to read back large parts of their descriptions.

Haley told the jurors that Weinstein jumped at her on the sofa, and then backed her into a bedroom. “He pushed me down,” she said. “He held me down by my arms. I said, ‘No, no!’”

Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi had advised jurors to convict the producer, saying he had abused his enormous power in the movie business to abuse, defenseless women. She claimed Weinstein could have exploited sex workers, but fancied to deceive aspiring actresses into his “lair.”

Several of the accusers told disturbing stories of the effect of the assault on their lives. Sciorra attested that she began cutting herself, and sank in depression and addiction in the years following the rape. Mann cried many times, and at one point the trial had to be suspended for the day when she could not proceed.

“They sacrificed their dignity, their privacy and their peace,” Illuzzi told the jury in her closing argument. “All for the prospect that their voices would be enough for justice.”

The defense had asked to highlight tender emails between the producer and his alleged victims, demonstrating that rape victims would not talk that way with their attacker. Rotunno argued that Mann had consensual sex with Weinstein because she wanted to frequent parties and develop her profession.

“She made a choice that she wanted to be in his world,” Rotunno said in her closing argument. “She made a choice that she wanted the life that he could potentially provide her.”

She also disputed that the witnesses had transmuted against Weinstein because they were seeking publicity and money. Rotunno said that Sciorra had become the “darling of the movement” after claiming that Weinstein raped her.

Earlier on Monday morning, defense attorney Arthur Aidala made a motion for a mistrial. The motion was denied.

Time’s Up Response:

Time’s Up praised the six women who testified during the trial, which started on January 6 and came to a conclusion on Feb. 24 after a week of discussion between jurors.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to Mimi Haleyi, Jessica Mann, Annabella Sciorra, Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff and Lauren Young and all the Silence Breakers for their bravery and resolve as they faced this man in court. We continue to believe them — all of them — and continue to be in solidarity with them,” the Time’s Up statement read.

“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. In two short years, Time’s Up helped pass new laws to help survivors achieve justice, helped thousands of individuals take on harassers and abusers in court, and changed the game when it comes to how matters of safety and equity in the workplace are understood,” the statement continued. “While we celebrate this historic moment, our fight to fix the broken system that has allowed serial abusers like Harvey Weinstein to abuse women in the first place continues. Abusers everywhere and the powerful forces that protect them should be on notice: There’s no going back.”

Time’s Up was started in January 2018 after The New York Times and New Yorker printed bombshell exposés reporting sexual misconduct allegations against Weinstein, starting the #MeToo movement.