A New York jury on Monday found Harvey Weinstein guilty of third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sexual act, ending a months-long criminal trial in Manhattan that focused on the testimonies of six women who accused him of sexual assault.
The disgraced Hollywood mogul was immediately taken into custody and could face up to 29 years in prison for the crimes when he is sentenced on March 11. An appeal is expected.
The jury found Weinstein guilty of third-degree rape of Jessica Mann and a criminal sexual act of Miriam Haley (née Mimi Haleyi). However, the panel found him not guilty of two of the most serious charges — predatory sexual assault against Haley, Mann and “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra — and the first-degree rape of Mann.
Donna Rotunno, Weinstein’s lead attorney, said she was “disappointed” by the verdict and vowed to appeal. “We knew we came in and we were down 35-0 on the day that we started this trial,” she said. “Harvey is unbelievably strong. He took it like a man. He knows that we will continue to fight for him and knows that this is not over.”
“I hope women will understand the significance of the jury verdict today,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said outside the courtroom, praising Weinstein’s accusers for coming forward. “These survivors weren’t just brave, they were heroic. Weinstein did everything he could … to silence the survivors. They refused to be silenced. The spoke from their hearts and were heard. To them I would say: You broke silence to hold him accountable. A generation of sexual assault survivors have heard every word.”
Haley, a former production assistant for the Weinstein-produced TV show “Project Runway,” testified that Weinstein had orally sexually assaulted her at his SoHo apartment in 2006 — an account that formed the basis of the first-degree criminal sexual act charge and half of the first predatory sexual assault charge.
Mann, a former aspiring actress and hairdresser, said she had been raped by Weinstein at the DoubleTree hotel in Manhattan in 2013, making up the fourth and fifth charges — first- and third-degree rape — as well as half of the second predatory sexual assault charge.
To fulfill the requirements of the predatory sexual assault charge, which requires that the prosecution prove the defendant forcibly raped at least two people, Sciorra’s account was paired with Haley’s and Mann’s for the two separate predatory sexual assault charges. Sciorra testified that Weinstein barged into her Gramercy Park home around 1993, raped her and then orally sexually assaulted her.
Throughout the trial, Weinstein’s defense — led by attorneys Donna Rotunno, Damon Cheronis, and Arthur Aidala — argued that these encounters were all consensual and that the women were only relabeling the incidents as assault years after the fact. Weinstein’s attorneys also pointed to several friendly emails that Haley and Mann had sent to Weinstein after the alleged assaults to attack the credibility of the women.
But the prosecution, led by assistant district attorneys Joan Illuzzi and Meghan Hast, portrayed Weinstein as a Hollywood titan who used his power to take advantage of and manipulate young women seeking entry into the entertainment industry.
It is not immediately clear how the verdict will impact the Los Angeles district attorney’s office, which is pursuing its own case against Weinstein. The mogul faces L.A.-based charges of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force, and sexual battery by restraint. A representative for the L.A. D.A.’s office declined to comment.
Read original story Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty of Rape, Criminal Sexual Act At TheWrap