The landmark trial against 67-year-old television and film producer Harvey Weinstein settled with a “guilty” verdict on two of five charges on Monday.
The New York jury convicted the powerful mogul of two felony sex crimes, but the jury acquitted him of the most serious sex crime: predatory sexual assault.
The Verdict Is In: Guilty
The Manhattan case against Weinstein involved the accusations of six women, with only two being considered for the trial: former actress Jessica Mann, who accused him of raping her in a hotel room in the city in 2013, and former television production assistant Miriam Haley, who said that he forced oral sex on her at his apartment in Manhattan in 2006. According to The New York Times, “Ms. Mann and Ms. Haley both acknowledged that they continued to see Mr. Weinstein after the alleged assaults, and later had consensual sex with him, testimony that complicated the prosecution’s case.”
The other four women - Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff, Lauren Young, and Annabella Sciorra - were allowed to testify against Weinstein to show a pattern of the toxic behavior, even though no charges were connected to their claims. The jury delivered the “not guilty” predatory sexual assault verdict in relation to the testimony of witness Annabella Sciorra because one or two of the jurors did not believe the former Sopranos actress’s credibility. Defense attorney Damon Cheronis urged the jury to remain impartial during Sciorra and other actresses fits of crying, stating that Weinstein’s relations with these women were consensual and that Sciorra was a great actress, hinting that she was acting during the trial.
The jury’s final deliberation found Weinstein guilty on two of the three lesser charges: a first-degree criminal sex act and a third-degree rape.
The jury’s final deliberation found Weinstein guilty on two of the three lesser charges: a first-degree criminal sex act and a third-degree rape. Following a division amongst the jury’s decision, the most serious charges against Weinstein were acquitted, including a criminal sex act and first-degree rape.
The Future of Weinstein
The influential producer was immediately sent to jail to await his sentence, which will be given on March 11. According to The New York Times, Weinstein appeared “unmoved as the verdict was read,” as he sat between his lawyers looking straight ahead when it was announced that the jury had reached a verdict. As the court officers approached him, Weinstein appeared stunned and refused to move. He was later handcuffed and removed from the room, limping.
Maybe not so surprising, the New York court system is not the only one seeking a trial against Weinstein - a Los Angeles jury is also bringing similar charges against the producer.
A Historic Victory For #MeToo
The news left witnesses with similar allegations against Weinstein in anxious anticipation for Weinstein’s future. While only two women were credited at the criminal trial, dozens more women had come forward against the producer. The Weinstein trial shone a light on the #MeToo movement which brings attention to sex crimes committed by powerful men in Hollywood. In the case of Harvey Weinstein versus the two women, this high-profile case is just one of the many allegations of sexual abuse in Hollywood and throughout the world.
Weinstein may not have gotten all the punishment he deserves, but hopefully, his conviction will encourage other abused women to come forward.
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