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Harvey Weinstein convicted on two of five charges

Harvey Weinstein — once one of the country’s most powerful Hollywood producers — has been found guilty on two of five counts in his New York sexual assault trial, but acquitted on the most serious charges against him.

Weinstein was found guilty of a criminal sexual act and third-degree rape.

Weinstein faces up to four years in prison on the rape charge, and between five and 25 years for the criminal sexual act charge. He was acquitted on more serious charges of predatory sexual assault and rape in the first degree, which could have resulted in a life sentence.

The 67-year-old former movie mogul has denied any wrongdoing, saying all of his sexual encounters were consensual. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 11.

Jurors had deliberated for more than 26 hours. Last week, before ultimately reaching a verdict on Monday, jurors had indicated to the trial’s judge that they were hung on the most serious charges against Weinstein.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance credited the “courageous” women who came forward, saying that, thanks to them, Weinstein had “finally been held accountable for crimes he committed.”

“Weinstein is a vicious, serial, sexual predator who used his power to threaten, rape, assault, trick, humiliate and silence his victims,” Vance said in remarks following the verdict.

Weinstein’s publicist told CNN that the ex-producer’s attorneys would appeal the verdict. 

The verdict brings to a close the high-profile New York trial, which drew intense media attention. Weinstein, who ultimately did not testify in the case, had been called a “sexual predator” and serial “rapist” by prosecutors from the trial’s beginning.

In her opening arguments last month, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast said that evidence in Weinstein’s case would show he was “not just a titan of Hollywood but a rapist.”

Defense attorneys had tried repeatedly to have a mistrial declared since the New York proceedings began in early January and sought to undermine testimony from two women who had accused Weinstein of rape and sexual assault.

Jurors heard emotional testimony, including from actress Annabella Sciorra, who told the court that Weinstein raped her after shoving his way into her Manhattan apartment.

“I was trying to get him off me,” Sciorra testified. “I was punching him, kicking him.”

Earlier this month, the judge overseeing the criminal trial was forced to adjourn for the day after an hours-long cross-examination from Weinstein’s attorneys left an unidentified witness in emotional distress.

The woman, who had also accused the former film executive of rape, reportedly began to cry after being fiercely grilled by Weinstein’s defense attorney, Donna Rotunno.

Rotunno made a series of public comments throughout the trial, penning an op-ed for Newsweek defending her client and appearing on a New York Times podcast.

The judge in the case told her earlier this week not to speak to the press until the jury had rendered a decision.

Weinstein had remained defiant, saying in a December interview with the New York Post’s Page Six that he deserved credit for being a “pioneer” in terms of Hollywood films directed by women.

“I made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker, and I’m talking about 30 years ago,” Weinstein said.

The legal peril isn’t over for Weinstein, who has also been indicted for alleged sexual misconduct in Los Angeles.

Sexual assault allegations against Weinstein in 2017 — and a flood of public allegations of sexual misconduct against many in the entertainment industry that followed — helped spur the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and shined a spotlight on systemic sexual harassment.

In total, more than 80 women — including actresses Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and Gwyneth Paltrow — have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, ranging from harassment to rape.

Last year, Weinstein reportedly reached a $44 million settlement with some of his accusers.

“This trial — and the jury’s decision today — marks a new era of justice, not just for the Silence Breakers, who spoke out at great personal risk, but for all survivors of harassment, abuse, and assault at work,” Time’s Up told ITK in a statement issued following the verdict.

“Abusers everywhere and the powerful forces that protect them should be on notice: There’s no going back.”

Updated at 12:37 p.m.

Tags #MeToo #MeToo movement Annabella Sciorra Donna Rotunno Harvey Weinstein Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations Me Too movement Sexual misconduct
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