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.Also Read: 6 Harvey Weinstein Accusers Have Testified at His Trial - Here's What They SaidDonna 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.Also Read: Inside the Harvey Weinstein Jury's Tricky Task and Why They Can't Find Him Guilty on All 5 CountsThroughout 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
Harvey Weinstein’s defense team laid out a sweeping closing argument on Thursday of their side of the case for one last time before the jury begins deliberations.Dressed in all black, Donna Rotunno — one of Weinstein’s lead attorneys — stood before the seven men, five women jury and urged them to use their “New York City common sense” as a “beacon of light” that would help them make an “unpopular” decision: finding Weinstein not guilty on all counts.“You don’t have to like Mr. Weinstein. This is not a popularity contest,” Rotunno said. “If you look at the evidence and say, ‘Maybe he’s guilty, probably he’s guilty,’ that’s not enough. … Stand your ground.”Also Read: Harvey Weinstein's Defense Wanted His Surgeon to Testify to Prove He's Not 'Faking It' With His WalkerRotunno then attacked the prosecution’s opening statement, which painted a picture of Weinstein as a predator who had a similar M.O. when choosing and assaulting his victims.“The government has to weave a story because, without the story, they know that if you had to look at the evidence alone, from their perspective, they lose. … The irony is that the ADAs [assistant district attorneys] in the case are the producer, and they are writing the script. In their story, they’ve created a universe that strips women of common sense, autonomy,” Rotunno said. “In their universe, women are not responsible for the parties they attend, the men they flirt with, the choices they make to further their own careers, the hotel invitations, the plane tickets they accept.”She then honed in on the two women whose accusations form the basis of the charges: Miriam Haley (née Mimi Haleyi) and Jessica Mann.Haley, whose account informs one first-degree criminal sexual act charge and one predatory sexual assault charge, testified that in 2013, after finishing up a stint as a production assistant, she was invited to meet with Weinstein at his SoHo apartment. It was there that she alleged he backed her into a bedroom, pulled her tampon out, and performed oral sex on her despite her protestations.Rotunno displayed a timeline of Haley’s interactions with Weinstein before the jury to highlight how she met up with him again and had a non-forcible, consensual sexual encounter; reached out to Weinstein for tickets to movie premieres; and requested a meeting with him to pitch a TV show.Rotunno then attacked Haley’s credibility and character by describing her as a “flirtatious person” who was aware of Weinstein’s intentions and referred back to a statement Haley made during her testimony about being concerned Weinstein “didn’t like [her] as much” after she rejected his offer to go to Paris with him.Also Read: Weinstein Lawyer Donna Rotunno Sparks Outrage by Saying She's Never Put Herself in a 'Position' to Be Assaulted“Why would she care? Why would she care if she thought he liked her less?” Rotunno said. “She cared because they had more of a relationship than she wants you to believe. She cared because they had a flirtatious relationship. She cared because she was using him for jobs. But she can’t tell you that because then the rest of her actions don’t make sense.”Rotunno’s comments about Mann will be delivered after court reconvenes from a short break.The prosecution will be the last to makes its closing argument, with Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi giving her summation before the jury on Friday morning.Jury selection begins next Tuesday, following the Presidents Day holiday. Weinstein faces five felony counts — two charges for predatory sexual assault, and one charge each for a first-degree criminal sexual act and first- and third-degree rape. He has pleaded not guilty and denied accusations of nonconsensual sex.Read original story In Closing Argument, Weinstein’s Attorney Says Prosecution’s Case ‘Strips Women of Common Sense, Autonomy’ At TheWrap
In a podcast interview released Friday morning, Harvey Weinstein’s criminal defense lawyer Donna Rotunno said she has never “put” herself in the “position” to be sexually assaulted.Listeners to the New York Times’ “The Daily” used Twitter to respond, tweeting “NO ONE puts themself in that position,” and noting they audibly gasped at her comments.“Finding it physically difficult to listen to Donna Rotunno on today’s episode of TheDaily – so much victim blaming and anti-women rhetoric. What do we expect from a woman who makes money off protecting male predators? How does she sleep at night?” vented one user.Also Read: Harvey Weinstein Accuser Says Her Friendly Emails 'Doesn't Change the Fact That He Raped Me'“Trying to come up with words to describe the way this interview turned my stomach. Donna Rotunno truly, truly blew my mind. Every word out of her mouth convinced me more and more that she understands nothing of what sexual assault is, as both an attorney and a woman,” wrote another.Rotunno was interviewed by New York Times reporter Megan Twohey, one of the journalists who initially broke the Weinstein story.Also Read: Audience Members Trash Bob Woodward's Moderation of MeToo Talk: 'Aggressive and Uninformed'“I’ve always made choices, from college age on, where I never drank too much, I never went home with someone that I didn’t know,” Rotunno told Twohey. “I just never put myself in any vulnerable circumstance. Ever.”She said, “All I’m saying is that women should take precautions.”Weinstein’s criminal trial in New York County’s Supreme Court began in early January — over two years after the New York Times and The New Yorker first broke stories about the disgraced movie mogul’s behavior toward women.Weinstein, who pleaded not guilty at his first indictment in August, faces five felony counts: two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of first-degree criminal sexual assault, one count of first-degree rape and one count of third-degree rape. The charges stem from accusations by Mimi Haleyi and a still-unnamed woman for encounters they say occurred in 2006 and and 2013.Read original story Weinstein Lawyer Donna Rotunno Sparks Outrage by Saying She’s Never Put Herself in a ‘Position’ to Be Assaulted At TheWrap
I will now also always remember the exact, sinking instant I realized I could possibly wind up deciding Weinstein’s fate, as a trial juror.
Harvey Weinstein accuser Rosanna Arquette is criticizing ABC’s late-night news program “Nightline” for airing an interview Friday with the disgraced producer’s lawyer, saying the “one-sided” segment is the defense’s attempt “to distort the facts.”“ABC’s Nightline’s grossly irresponsible, one-sided reporting is shameful and deeply detrimental to the survivors like myself who were assaulted and abused by Harvey Weinstein,” Arquette told TheWrap.In the segment, ABC News reporter Amy Robach sat down with Weinstein’s attorney, Donna Rotunno, who explained her plan to defend Weinstein ahead of his Jan. 6 trial, and dismissed accusations made by the more than 80 women who accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct, from harassment to rape.“It sends a dangerous message to women that by reporting a crime, we will be subjected to victim-blaming and not be believed,” Arquette continued. “As his trial date approaches, I stand by the brave women who are testifying to ensure that their voices are heard and will fire back at any misrepresentations of the truth. Despite Weinstein’s lawyer’s attempts to distort the facts, I believe his days of destroying lives are over.”Also Read: Rosanna Arquette Says Harvey Weinstein Should Go to Jail: 'Absolutely' (Video)ABC declined to comment on the criticism Saturday. Weinstein has consistently denied all accusations of non-consensual sex.In the interview, Robach asks Rotunno if she’s been accused of being “a traitor to her own gender” by defending a man accused of raping women.“I don’t believe I am. I think in many ways I would hope that I could help women. What happens in these circumstances where women don’t want to take certain responsibilities for their actions, we infantilize ourselves. You have to know that when you make certain choices, there’s a risk,” Rotunno replied.Robach’s response was to point out that “a lot of people would say that what you just said is victim-blaming.”“That’s absolutely not true. If you don’t want to be a victim, don’t go to the hotel room,” Rotunno said. “And if you don’t want to be a victim, don’t sign an NDA. Then go out onto 5th Avenue, take a megaphone and talk about what you want to talk about.”Also Read: Harvey Weinstein's Accusers and Attorneys to Sit Down for Court TV Interview SpecialGloria Allred, who represents Weinstein’s accusers Annabella Sciorra and Mimi Haleyi, responded to Rotunno’s comments in a statement to TheWrap.“I disagree with many of Donna Rotunno’s statements,” Allred said. “Many business meetings with producers of films have been conducted in hotel rooms. This statement by Ms. Rotunno appears to suggest that if a woman is asked to go to a hotel room, that it is her fault if she is raped. That defense did not work in the criminal case against Mike Tyson a number of years ago. He was convicted of raping a woman in a hotel room and I believe that this attempt to blame victims who are raped in hotel rooms will not be successful now in the era of the ‘Me Too Movement.'”In the “Nightline” interview, Rotunno made a point to say that she is “not the moral police on Harvey Weinstein” and emphasized that “Harvey has a right to a defense… If [the jurors] look at the evidence that’s going to be presented to them, I think they’re going to find him not guilty.”Also Read: Bob Weinstein Confronted Harvey Over 'Misbehavior' 2 Years Before Scandal BrokeABC News also quoted its chief legal analyst, Dan Abrams, in response to Rotunno’s claim that “going to a hotel room and having someone ask you if you’ll give them a massage is not rape, it’s not sexual assault, and it’s really not sexual harassment.”“When someone in a position of power over someone else’s career makes the pass with the either explicit or implicit promise of career benefits, that is the definition of sexual harassment,” Abrams said.On Saturday afternoon, Times Up tweeted a response to the “Nightline” segment from 21 women who came forward to report Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, including Arquette, fellow actors Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, and Weinstein’s former assistant Rowena Chiu.“This segment displayed, to a national audience, the same dismissive, manipulative tactics Harvey implemented to silence the voices of so many women for decades,” the statement read (see it in full below). “We believe the evidence against Harvey presented in the trial next month will be a moment of reckoning and he will be held accountable for his crimes.”Lou Godbold, a Weinstein accuser and trauma specialist who signed the Times Up statement, also weighed in on the segment.“Harvey’s defense is that all men are rapists so that women should not find themselves alone with a man, despite the fact that it was a common practice for powerful men to take business meetings alone and in their hotel suites,” Goldbold said in a tweet.Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund co-founder Hilary Rosen also chimed in.“This lawyer did her client no favors with this interview,” Rosen tweeted Saturday. “Especially when she blamed the women for seeking jobs and when she struggled to suggest that HarveyWeinstein had any remorse. Kudos to [Dan Abrams] for his clarity in explaning [sic] the issues in this case.”https://twitter.com/TIMESUPNOW/status/1203439928144617472/photo/1Read original story Rosanna Arquette Condemns Weinstein’s Lawyer’s ‘Attempt to Distort the Facts’ in ABC ‘Nightline’ Interview At TheWrap